So, news broke this week that the President of the University of Southern Maine, Glenn Cummings, is thinking about changing the name of the university to something that "might better extend our geographic reach and enhance our reputation and appeal among college bound students here in Maine and beyond."

...whatever that means.

Rumors are swirling that the school will be named "UMaine Portland," to follow the naming scheme that the rest of the state's public universities use. Our other state schools are:

  • The University of Maine
  • The University of Maine at Augusta
  • The University of Maine at Farmington
  • The University of Maine at Fort Kent
  • The University of Maine at Machias
  • The University of Maine at Presque Isle

Our state universities can also be shortened to "UMaine (location)," like UMaine Augusta or UMaine Farmington. All except for one: "UMaine Orono" doesn't exist.

Contrary to popular belief, unless you went to school in a town called Orono before 1986, you never went to "UMO" or "UMaine Orono." A school by that name doesn't exist! The state's flagship university is the University of Maine. There's actually a hilarious style guide on the UMaine website that corrects about 99% of people in the state.

So... now that we're on the topic of what to call schools around here, what should we call USM now that we apparently need to pick a new name?

The University of Maine at Portland (UMaine Portland) has a pretty nice ring to it, but a big chunk of USM's campus is actually in Gorham, so that might not work. If we want to break with the mold of naming the school after where it's located, here are a few ideas we came up with that could be a little different:

  • Downeast University
  • Pine Tree State University
  • Dirigo University

Ehhh... this is harder than we thought. I don't love the first one, because here in Maine, Portland certainly isn't "Downeast," but it is to the rest of the country.

Pine Tree State kinda works both ways... Pine Tree U sounds cool, and we're the Pine Tree State! Pine Tree State University? Anyone?

And Dirigo is our state's Latin motto, but that's kind of a copout. Are there any other schools in the US named after state mottos?

Now there's no guarantee that USM's name will even change at all. What do you think should happen?

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