Great cities have great universities. Denver has Denver University, Chicago has the University of Chicago, and Memphis has, well, Memphis. Kansas City, on the other hand, has UMKC, four letters that mean something to you and me but essentially nothing to anyone living outside the Kansas City region.
UMKC is making tremendous strides, investing millions in new construction, adding more student housing and continuing to have several programs at or near the top of their respective fields nationally. It is a superb institution, churning out some of the brightest and most talented students in the Midwest. Yet, my presumption is that many of these accolades get discounted primarily because of the school’s lack of an identity.
I am most certainly not proposing that UMKC should leave the University of Missouri system. Rather just a simple name change, similar to what Missouri-Rolla recently did. Kansas City University ... has a nice ring huh? The name pays homage to the university’s roots and would serve as a face and identity for a great school.