My favorite University is growing up. It seems the current President has big aspirations for the school…Good for him. My only this is, why now? I would have loved to play football!!!!

Cleveland State University President Michael Schwartz puts name change, football on agenda in State of the University’ speech.

Cleveland State University President Michael Schwartz doesn’t want to retire without trying again to push a couple of big ideas: Changing the name of the school and adding a football team. As universities go, the ideas don’t come much bigger.

The notion of renaming Cleveland State University as the University of Cleveland has been floated by previous administrations, and Schwartz said it’s worth a try again.

Earlier proposals fizzled for lack of interest and concerns about cost. But Schwartz and others at CSU are tired of what they say is a common misperception that they are running a community college. Because Cincinnati State and Columbus State are both community colleges, Schwartz said, Cleveland State gets lumped in, too.

He has asked his marketing team to study how a new name would go over. While the current favorite is University of Cleveland, that isn’t set in stone. Schwartz retires on July 1, and hopes a decision can be made by then.

In the meantime, he’s hoping to hear from the community about both the name change and the idea of fielding the university’s first football team.

Those were the two biggest surprises in Schwartz’s “State of the University” speech delivered Tuesday.

A new name, Schwartz said, would reflect a university that has improved its looks and academic rigor in recent years. But he knows that name changes can be dangerous territory, too, and made an oblique reference to Case Western Reserve University and its disastrous effort a few years ago to be known only as “Case.” The move enraged many alumni, and eventually CWRU officials decided to revert to the full name.

CSU students and faculty were taking the news about a potential name change cautiously Tuesday, neither rejecting it outright nor embracing it fully.

“Will it make the school lose its identity?” wondered Bolaji Orimoloye, a CSU senior and president of the Student Senate. On the other hand, he said, taking “state” out of the name would make it sound more like a private school and might add prestige.

Gary Pettey, an associate professor of communications, said he has noticed a difference in CSU, for the better, in recent years. Faculty members “are now proud to be CSU faculty. A name change in that context could well be an outward expression of our new directions.”

Changing the name would require a change in the state law that created CSU in 1964. A spokesman for higher education Chancellor Eric Fingerhut said he was marking a Jewish holiday on Tuesday and unavailable to comment on Schwartz’s plans.

Several smaller colleges in the area have added football in recent years. But no one at CSU was able to say on Tuesday exactly what steps would have to be taken, what conference CSU aspires to join, or even who will serve on what Schwartz called a “blue-ribbon commission” to study the feasibility of football.

He said that any football program would have to be self-supporting and not draw money from academic programs. But Schwartz said it’s worth pondering and he hopes to hear a recommendation from the commission before he retires.

“Students need a real campus culture; they need some traditional campus life,” Schwartz said. “They need multiple sources of pride in their university, and football in the fall is part of traditional campus life.”

To contact CSU President Michael Schwartz to share your thoughts about changing the university’s name or adding football, write to him in care of Cleveland State University, President’s Office, 2121 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 44115; or e-mail him at

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until then…

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