University officials are conducting a two-year experiment to change OCU’s acronym to “OKCU.”
The university is marketing OCU as “OKCU” to incoming freshmen and transfer students. Based on how often the term is used in the next few years, officials will determine whether the acronym change should be permanent.
Kevin Windholz, vice president for enrollment management, previously said “OKCU” would distinguish the university from other universities in the surrounding area and would define the university as “Oklahoma City’s university.”
Leslie Berger, senior director of communications and marketing, said the testing phase has been smooth so far and students and faculty are using “OKCU” and “OCU” as they wish.
Windholz and Berger are overseeing the change, which still is not official.
Athletic Director Jim Abbott said no one has directed him or the athletic department to refer to OCU as “OKCU,” but, if the switch happens, it could affect athletics financially.
“It might require us to spend money on new uniforms or signage in our facilities,” he said.
There was some concern about OCU’s reputation in athletics being impacted by the change, but Abbott said OCU is usually referred to as “Oklahoma City.”
“I think who we truly are is Oklahoma City University. Athletically, we enjoy a very positive reputation nationally, so I don’t think it matters what our acronym is,” he said.
Abbey Renner, biomedical science junior, is on the basketball team. She said there are positives and negatives to the change.
“As athletes, we hold the OCU athletic tradition very near and dear to our hearts. There has been a reputation built with the name ‘OCU’ over the years, and it makes it hard to accept the change to ‘OKCU,’” Renner said.
However, Renner also said “OKCU” could help distinguish OCU from other similar metro area schools, such as Oklahoma Christian University (OC) in Edmond, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) in Oklahoma City or University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond.
“Adding a ‘K’ to our name will bring attention and set us apart as the amazing program that we are,” Renner said.
The switch in acronyms could unintentionally distance alumni from the university, Abbott said.
“There will probably be some alums who won’t be very happy about it,” he said. “We used to be the Chiefs and now we’re the Stars. I can tell you that some students who were here when we were the Chiefs aren’t happy about the fact that we’re no longer the Chiefs.”
University officials will continue the acronym test in hopes that “OKCU” will catch on with incoming students.
“Whether we’re wearing ‘OCU’ or ‘OKCU,’ we will always embody the tradition of the Oklahoma City Stars,” Renner said.