LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Transition from ‘Western’ to ‘WKU’ misguided

Austin Klaine

I would like to commend the Herald for the article “Erasing Western,” which appeared on the front page of the March 1, 2011 edition. It brings attention to the ongoing rebranding effort on the part of the university to do away with anything referring to the school as Western instead of WKU.

I feel that this effort is misguided because the university is intentionally trying to eliminate decades of tradition for the sake of marketability.

Since its creation in 1906, as the Western Kentucky State Normal School, “Western” is a nickname that has been synonymous with the college, here in Bowling Green and throughout Kentucky. The school would not become Western Kentucky University, as we know it, until 60 years later.

To put it into perspective, legendary Hilltopper basketball coach E.A. Diddle never coached for the Toppers as WKU; at the time of his retirement the school was still Western Kentucky State College. It serves as an example of how the “Western” moniker has been a commonality through the school’s various stages of evolution. 

Do we really want to lose part of that history?

I am not diametrically opposed to the school going by WKU. I just do not see the need to make a concerted effort to erase “Western,” as though it is part of some kind of shameful past the university is trying to forget.

I prefer to side with tradition. So, stand up and cheer – stand up and cheer for dear old Western!

Austin Klaine

Bowling Green graduate student