Posted by: randydunning | September 26, 2007

Naming Rights

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Today I got word that the name of the university where I used to work is going to get a name change. Tri-State University in Angola, Indiana will become Trine University in 2009. The new name will honor the Trine family who gave the largest gift in university history (amount undisclosed). Both Dr. and Mrs. Trine currently sit on the TSU board of directors and have been long-time contributors. Dr. Trine is also an alumnus of TSU from 1961. I don’t know if the Trines desired the name change or if the university did it out of gratitude. But however it happened, the new name and the motivations behind it will surely be subject to questioning.
        We’ve come to expect corporations to secure the naming rights to sports venues for large sums of money (American Airlines Arena, The Staples Center, Tropicana Field, etc.) but having a name change come a major gift to a university will raise some eyebrows. But I don’t think in the case of TSU that it is a bad thing. This was a private gift to a small school by a deeply committed alum (whose name closely aligns with the original name of the school – quite convenient). Besides, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1) The names of such institutions as Moody Bible College and Bob Jones University certainly honor the men who laid their foundations. And Ralph Trine is laying a financial foundation for his school.
        All I know is that much will need to be changed at old TSU – including the alma mater. “Glory to Trine U” will replace “Glory to Tri-State.” But that’s ok – it was a bad song to begin with. I just hope the whole idea of naming rights never spills over to the naming of churches (e.g. Jane Doe Chapel at Bob Smith Community Church). That would get ugly in a hurry.

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