WKU staff, alumni react to DUC name change

The name of the Downing University Center has been changed to Dero Downing Student Union.


WKU’s recent decision to rename the Downing University Center – affectionately referred to by the WKU community as DUC – to the Downing Student Union has received mixed reaction from students and alumni.

Kathryn Costello, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, said the alumni office hasn’t heard much regarding the name change, but she thinks as the fall semester begins people might become more vocal.

“It’s one of those changes where the people who were here years ago will refer to it as DUC and the incoming students will say Downing Student Union,” she said.

Costello said even with the name change, students will still look to shorten its title.

“DUC is such a good acronym to say, so it sticks with students,” Costello said. “DSU will probably be shortened to ‘the Student Union’ or just ‘Downing’ by future students.”

DUC’s Program Coordinator Trinity Gonzalez said new logos, taglines and marketing pieces are in the works for the building’s new name.

“Although I am an alumnus of WKU and will always hold DUC dear to my heart, as a professional working in student unions, I fully support the name change,” Gonzalez said in an email. “Giving this new building the name Dero Downing Student Union is much more fitting to the intended purpose of the space, which is to serve the student population of WKU.”

Gonzalez said while most current students will still refer to the space as DUC, “as generations of students take their first steps into the Downing Student Union, the name DUC will become a thing of the past.”

John Wright, a 1996 alumnus who is now Community Relations Specialist for Hardin County Schools, said he’s glad former university president Dero Downing’s name remains in the title, regardless of wording.

“I’m glad WKU will continue to honor Dr. Downing’s memory by keeping his name on the building,” he said. “Dr. Downing is an important part of WKU history and his legacy will hopefully live forever on campus.”

Wright said the name change doesn’t bother him, and he’ll probably still refer to it as DUC.

“DUC has always been easy to say and everyone knows what DUC is,” Wright said. “However, a building’s name is just a name. It is the bonding and friendships that will be created there that means the most.”