© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Panel Recommends That USM Seek Lawmakers' Approval For Name Change

Corey Templeton
Flickr/Creative Commons
The University of Southern Maine's Portland campus in 2016.

A committee is recommending that state university officials seek legislative approval this winter to change the name of the University of Southern Maine.Campus officials began discussing changing the name of the university earlier this year to the "University of Maine at Portland."

USM President Glenn Cummings says recent market research from the university found that the new name would take advantage of Portland's popularity and bring in more students from outside of Maine.

"And so I think legislators intuitively understand that," he says. "And they also understand how desperate we are to get a strong, robust, attractive workforce here in the state."

The university estimates the name change would cost about $2.5 million. But officials say they could make up those funds by enrolling more students from out of state.

"The future of Maine depends on young people coming into the state, getting educated. Or staying here, and getting educated, and really contributing to the economy," Cummings said.

The university system's Board of Trustees will likely vote on the recommendation at their meeting next month. Officials hope to get legislative approval for a name change during the January 2020 legislative session.

Originally published Aug. 27, 2019 at 2:33 p.m. ET.