Penn graduates petition to change university name

December 7, 2011 – There are a number of worthy causes out there especially at this time of year, such as feeding the hungry, helping battered women start a new life or raising money for cancer research.

And then there are those that border on the ridiculous.

Two University of Pennsylvania graduates have started a petition to change the school’s name because it’s “boring, confusing and misleading.” Instead they suggest Franklin University (which already exists in Ohio) or simply referring to the entire school as Wharton.

This, of course, comes in the aftermath of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. Is that the boring part?

The graduates created a website dedicated to their cause that states, “The negative publicity surrounding the ongoing scandal at Penn State spilling onto Penn is just the most recent evidence of long-standing confusion surrounding our identity.”

That sounds a bit elitist, don’t you think? Both Penn and Penn State are fine institutions educating the future of this country. While I agree that it appears Penn State handled their current situation poorly, their educational standards are still in tact. Also, the differences between the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State are apparent to everyone but a small minority who may confuse the two institutions occasionally, and the two students who want to break with tradition and rename a school that has existed under that name since 1749.

Those Penn graduates should be proud of their Ivy League education. There’s no denying that. But how about putting it to good use and coming up with ideas that make a positive impact on society, not just their small-minded world.

Would the school even consider such a request? According to university President Amy Gutmann, “The answer is simple – absolutely not.”

Thank God for the voice of reason.

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