ST. LOUIS — University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Thomas George has joined those opposing a proposed name change for the system’s Columbia campus.
George initially said he did not object to the MU proposal to drop Columbia from its name and become simply the University of Missouri. That’s the name by which the school was known from its formation in 1839 until the four-campus system’s creation 124 years later, in 1963.
But George now says that pressure from internal and external university groups has pushed him to change his stance.
In his state of the university address Tuesday, George said the proposed name change would “weaken the integrity of the University of Missouri System as a whole.”
“I want to affirm that we here in St. Louis are the University of Missouri,” he said. “We’re proud of that.”
The proposal also has generated concern among faculty and student groups at the St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City campuses.
University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Guy Bailey has said a Columbia name change could create interest for his campus to also change its name, perhaps to its pre-system designation as the University of Kansas City.
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said the change is needed to boost fundraising and better reflect the school’s national and international stature. Deaton and other supporters point to the upcoming name change for the Rolla campus, which will be known as the Missouri University of Science and Technology starting in January.
Any name change requires approval by the university system’s curators. No date has been set to review the proposal.