Kansas State Tries To Move Away From K-State Nickname

By: Amanda Lanum, Lindsey Rogers
By: Amanda Lanum, Lindsey Rogers

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Kansas State President Kirk Schulz says the school wants to rebrand itself on a national scale as it moves towards its goal of becoming one of the top 50 public research universities in the country.

He says the school is making a conscious effort to use Kansas State University versus "K-State."

Schulz spoke to Governor Sam Brownback and the state's top economic advisers Monday during a meeting at the university's Alumni Center on campus.

The governor says the council would like to see the state grow its universities in their economic impact and rankings in different areas.

In the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges 2013," KU ranked 106th among national universities, which is down from 101st last year, and 51st among public universities, down from 46th.

Kansas State University was ranked 139th and 70th.

Schulz talked about "K-State 2025: A Visionary Plan for Kansas State University," the university's goal and detailed plan to be recognized as a Top 50 Public Research University by 2025.

He says the school is trying to develop a national and global brand as it moves to make its vision a reality and increase its rankings. Kansas State University, he told the council, is the better name to be used on that scale since K-State could confuse different audiences.

"You’re going to see more things on our campus that emphasize Kansas State University as opposed to K-State. This is very conscious on our part. If we’re going to build a national brand, people need to realize where we are, what state that we’re in and that we’re a land grant institution. K-State works great for athletics but if you’re in Kentucky, K-State can mean something different and if you’re in Ohio with Kent State, K-State can mean something different. It’s very regional so one of the things as we’re out there doing things and NBAF comes online, I want people not wondering where it is. I want them going, ‘Well, they’re working with Kansas State University' so they know exactly where that is," Schulz said.

"As you drive through campus and you see signs up on poles and you see stationary and things coming out, we are consciously moving in that direction to a single brand so that people know where these great things are happening," he told the council.

On Wednesday, the university released the following statement on the matter, assuring alumni, students and fans that the shortened version of the school's name is not completely being done away with:

Despite recent media reports, audiences in the state and region will still see Kansas State University referred to as K-State. As Kansas State University works to become a Top 50 public research institution by 2025, it is strengthening its brand by using the name appropriate to the audience, said President Kirk Schulz.

"We've been branding ourselves as Kansas State and Kansas State University for decades," Schulz said. "The nickname K-State has become common to those of us in the state and region, and we recognize the strength of being known to certain audiences as K-State. Whatever we're called, we are still committed to our goal of rising to the Top 50."

Schulz referred in recent remarks how we present the university to those outside our state and region. The university has received feedback from alumni and friends throughout the world that the nickname “K-State” is often misunderstood by those in other regions, especially in academic and scientific circles, where the university competes for the best and brightest graduate students and faculty members with other top universities. For those audiences, Kansas State University is the preferred usage.

K-State is part of our brand DNA. It is not going away, said Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing.

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