The University of Connecticut is officially rebranding itself as UConn.
The school is adopting the UConn nickname as the "primary visual word mark for the entire institution," President Susan Herbst said Thursday in her annual State of the University address to the campus community.
The nickname will replace the University of Connecticut on the schools signs, letterhead, banners, advertising and web pages, she said. The change comes with a new logo, which features the block letters UCONN in all capital letters.
"As an institution, for years we have made use of UConn as institutional nickname of sorts," Herbst said. "But while we see it as shorthand, it appears that throughout the nation - due to our athletic success no doubt - most everyone refers to the university as UConn. That's not a bad thing at all. Think UCLA or Penn or Georgia Tech or Cal or MIT, nicknames all - and proud ones."
The new logo comes out of a marketing partnership between the school's athletic department and Nike, which designed it at no cost to the school, said spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz. It is part of a larger effort to replace disparate logos used by different Husky teams, she said.
The school does not have a cost estimate for replacing the existing signage, but Reitz said the logo will be phased in as departments run out of stationary, or signs need replacing.
The school is also updating its Husky dog logo for the athletic department. The new "Husky" will be unveiled April 18.
Herbst promises the mascot will be sleek and beautiful, not mean and menacing as has been rumored. The current logo, featuring a Husky dog with its tongue out, has been criticized by some as not intimidating enough for an athletic program.
The school will retain its traditional oak leaf logo and the university seal, Herbst said.
Herbst said talking about branding and marketing a school makes her queasy, but said it is important for the school to be easily recognizable in a competitive marketplace.
"We're not a breakfast cereal and we're not a detergent," she said. "But, we still need to communicate what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. Branding actually matters a great deal."