Daily News Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn State McKeesport, a branch campus of Pennsylvania State University, could be renamed Penn State Allegheny by year’s end.Edit
A local educational institution familiar to Mon Valley residents soon may bear a different name.Edit
PSM Chancellor Dr. Curtiss Porter said Monday that the proposed name change was approved at the faculty level last spring, while the PSM Advisory Board OK’d the change earlier this month.
The PSM Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the matter in the near future. Porter said he could not speculate how or where the Board of Trustees will vote.
The chancellor said the proposed change is a result of the school’s desire to broaden PSM’s scope from the Mon Valley to all of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Our largest representation of students come from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties,” Porter said.
“But we also get students from across the country and the world.” A Tripp Umbach and Associates study showed PSM generates on average up to $13 million per year in economic impact for the Mon-Yough area.
Porter said attempts to increase the campus profile beyond that region is the genesis of the name-change discussion, not the recent spate of negative news swirling around McKeesport.
“We are not physically moving the campus,” Porter said. “We will always be part of the McKeesport and White Oak communities. Name changes happen quite frequently at this level.” Porter referenced the university’s 1953 name change from Pennsylvania State College to Penn State University as an example. “CMU Carnegie Mellon (University, located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood) was at first named Carnegie Tech,” he added.
The chancellor said the proposed name change, if approved by the Board of Trustees, would provide a boost for the region’s economy. “This campus is a major revenue generator for the McKeesport area,” Porter said. “There are a lot of positive benefits that can be gained from the name change.” Porter said he believes increased enrollment will result from changing Penn State McKeesport to Penn State Allegheny. “It would be not just for the betterment of the community, but for the entire Penn State system,” he insisted.
PSM is one of four Penn State branch campuses in the Pittsburgh region. The others are located in New Kensington, Monaca and Uniontown. Porter said it is possible other Penn State branch campuses may take on the names of counties or regions, rather than the municipalities in which they are located.
McKeesport Mayor James Brewster said he is staunchly against the proposed name change. “You could say that I’m opposed to it,” Brewster said Monday. “ I don’t see the value of changing the name from Penn State McKeesport. I don’t think that this will increase enrollment at the campus.” In addition, Brewster said he hasn’t seen any studies that validates the name change as an element that would lead to an increase in enrollment.