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MSUM looks at name change

MOORHEAD -- If you haven't gotten used to the name Minnesota State University Moorhead, you may not have to.

President Edna Szymanski said she'd like to switch the name to Moorhead State University Minnesota.

Szymanski has gotten permission from the university system to do some market research on a possible new name.

The university changed its name in 2000 from Moorhead State University to Minnesota State University Moorhead.

But nine years later, everyone still calls the campus Moorhead State, Szymanski said.

"Why fight it?" she said.

Putting Moorhead first will also prevent confusion with Minnesota State University, Mankato, Szymanski said.

"We have to really look at how we can best distinguish ourselves," she said.

Heath Butrum, MSUM's student body president, said he has to force himself to say Minnesota State University Moorhead.

"It's a mouthful," Butrum said. "I grew up with it as Moorhead State University, and it'd be good to get back to that."

Roland Barden, MSUM's president during the last name change, said at the time the system's board of trustees favored having Minnesota State University in the name.

One reason for the change was that Moorhead doesn't have as much recognition with people outside of this region, Barden said.

At the time, MSUM's student senate opposed the name change.

MSUM has been known under many names. It opened as Moorhead Normal School in 1888, changed to Moorhead State Teachers College in 1921, became Moorhead State College in 1957 and became Moorhead State University in 1975.

In 1998, Mankato State University became Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Mankato campus also has had difficulty with the new name. In 2005, the university tweaked its marketing campaign in the Twin Cities after a survey found that many still called the school by its former name.