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DU studies moving 'Denver' into Metro State's new name

7:00 PM, Nov 29, 2011   |    comments
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"One of the things we were looking for is what the potential confusion could result in a name change to Metropolitan State College of Denver," Kim DeVigil, director or news and public affairs for DU, said.

DeVigil says DU was conducting brand research on its own name and logo. Part of the study examined the name change of Metro State.

Earlier this year, Metro State trustees selected Denver State University. After DU officials voiced their displeasure, Metro State leaders backed off that name. Now, the new Metro State name has three possibilities: Denver Metropolitan State University, Denver State Metropolitan University, Metropolitan Denver State University.

DU interviewed more than 1,500 people from around the country including high school students, school counselors, alumni, and educators. DeVigil says the results show that if Metro State puts "Denver" in the first or second word in its new name, that could provide increased confusion.

"It's not just DU. It's University of Colorado Denver and Metro all kind of lose something because of that confusion," DeVigil said.

Does the word "Denver" really have that much power? 9NEWS talked to two business owners who use "Denver" prominently.

"I literally bought up all the Denver, Denver Upholstery, DenverUpholstery.net, all the Denvers," Stephen Volz, owner of Denver Upholstery, said.

Volz says using Denver in his name is a competitive advantage.

"Think about it: If you're looking for an upholsterer in Denver, what are you going to put in Google or any of the search engines?" Volz said. "I could be Steve's Upholstery. That's hard to remember. But if it's Denver Upholstery, it's easy."

Mark Huebner at the Denver Pizza Company agrees.

"When you say Denver, some sort of feeling arises in people who've been here or have seen pictures or whatever," Huebner, co-owner of the Denver Pizza Company, said.

Huebner says carrying the word Denver also sets a high standard.

"When people come here from out of town, we want people to say, 'Hey, you know, if this is what pizza's all about in Denver, we want to be it,'" Huebner said.

What do these business owners think about Metro State moving "Denver" to the front of its name?

"Metro State, it doesn't really say much about who they are and I think giving them a bit of a further identity by putting Denver in the name - especially to out of state people," Huebner said.

Volz says having "Denver" at the beginning of its internet domain name is important, as well. He says if DU is worried about possible name confusion, that's a good thing.

"Let them be confused," Volz said. "If they're confused on the Internet, that enables them to search more or get into it further."

Metro State officials did not want to comment at this time. The Metro State Board of Trustees will address the issue at its meeting on Thursday. Trustees will also review more research conducted by Metro State including a second survey launched on Nov. 8. The board will likely select a name which would be submitted to the legislature for approval.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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