College Name Game: 3 Strikes, You’re Out of Bounds
UTD Cries Foul Over Being Confused in Media With Other Institutions
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) announced today that its name is The University of Texas at Dallas – NOT The University of Texas, the University of Dallas, the University of North Texas in Dallas or even the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
The pronouncement came on the heels of three faux pas on the part of the local media in little more than a week, in which UTD, which was founded 33 years ago, was misidentified as another institution of higher education.
“Three strikes and you’re out of bounds!” exclaimed Jon Senderling, baseball aficionado and executive director of News and Information at UTD, mixing sports metaphors in the process. “While we have great respect for other universities both here in the Metroplex and elsewhere, it’s difficult to establish a ‘brand’ for our university if the media keeps calling us something else.”
Senderling said that in recent days UTD had had misnomers assigned to it by a “truly democratic” cross-section of the media – a local daily newspaper, a radio station and a cable television network.
“Perhaps the fact that we have a number of universities whose names sound vaguely similar has people in the media perplexed,” Senderling speculated. “Or maybe it’s the geography that baffles them. After all, the University of Dallas is located in Irving, The University of Texas at Dallas is in Richardson and when the University of North Texas – which is in Denton – opens its campus in South Dallas, its name will be the University of North Texas in Dallas.”
“There’s a ‘who’s on first?’ quality to all of this,” he said, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
The confusion may be compounded by the fact that UTD is part of The University of Texas System, which is composed of 15 institutions of higher education throughout the state.
“While we cherish our tie to UT System and our sister universities under the UT umbrella, each institution is separate, with its own administration, faculty, student body and budget,” Senderling said. “So, when a UTD faculty member is quoted in the media and identified as being from The University of Texas, which to most people is that huge institution in Austin with the undefeated football team, that is a disservice to our university, which is about one-quarter as large and also can be said to be undefeated in football, although we don’t field a team.”
Senderling – a longtime newspaperman and former editorial page director of the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald – expressed sympathy with the media’s plight, but implored them to strive for accuracy.
“I am not dumb enough to pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. I am just hoping that reporters and editors will remember that UTD is the school with the top college chess team in the United States; has outstanding programs in engineering and computer science, space sciences, audiology, nanotechnology and sickle cell research, among others; recently added a Nobel laureate to its faculty, and has top-notch students,” Senderling said.
“With apologies to the Bard, and to our literary studies faculty and students, a university by any other name would not sound as sweet as the proper identification of The University of Texas at Dallas (which is in Richardson, of course). What’s in a name? To us, a great deal.”
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].