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MCO set to change name, boost its image on May 6


We re not changing a bunch of signs for the heck of it, says Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, president of the Medical College of Ohio, with one of the new signs that, beginning next Friday, bear the college s new name.

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Medical University of Ohio at Toledo.

It doesn't roll off the tongue quite yet. But starting May 6, that will become the new name for Medical College of Ohio.

The Medical College of Ohio Hospital, the main hospital on campus, also is being renamed. It will be known as University Medical Center.

New signs have begun appearing on campus as part of the transition, which will end up costing the state-owned institution about $240,000 for new signs and $75,000 in other expenses, including new letterhead and display materials.

Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, MCO president, said the institution intended to replace signs before changing the name, but existing letterhead, business cards, and other material will be used up before it is replaced.

Dr. Jacobs pushed for the name change - which the Ohio General Assembly has approved - to better reflect what the school does as well as to enhance MCO's reputation.

"It's a more accurate description of what we are," Dr. Jacobs said. "We are, in fact, four colleges."

Those four colleges- which are being renamed from schools to "colleges" as part of the transition - are the college of medicine with 586 students; the college of nursing with 136 graduate students; the college of health sciences with 231 students, and the college of graduate studies with 148 students.

The college of nursing also trains about 1,000 undergraduate nursing students through a cooperative agreement with the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

Though the name changes might seem minor to the average person, Dr. Jacobs said the switch to "university" appeals more to potential medical students and faculty.

"I know this will help us recruit," Dr. Jacobs said. "It's prestige."

Still, Dr. Jacobs said he's realistic about how long it will take the community to get used to the new name. "I have no doubt that everyday use will take a year or so to change," he said.

Or maybe longer.

Many longtime Toledo area residents still refer to the University of Toledo as "TU" as in Toledo University - even though it officially became the University of Toledo in 1947.

MCO is the latest in a long line of colleges locally and nationwide that have switched their names to university in an attempt to bolster their images.

Bluffton College became Bluffton University last year, the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima dropped "college" from its name in 2000, and Siena Heights University in Adrian dropped "college" from its name in 1998.

The trend is less common for medical schools, but that's because the nation's 125 medical schools usually are associated with an existing university, Dr. Jacobs said. MCO is relatively unique because it's a stand-alone medical school.

Elisa Siegel, a spokesman for the Association of American Colleges, said it's quite common for hospitals on medical school campuses to add "university" to their name as MCO will soon do because "having an obvious academic affiliation is seen as positive in the minds of the public."

The name change will actually be the third for the institution.

MCO was founded in 1964 and known as the Toledo State College of Medicine until 1967, when it switched to Medical College of Ohio.

In 1967, MCO board members foresaw a need to eventually rename itself "university." Board minutes from 1967 indicate that board members felt that "the new name should be such that it can be converted to 'university' at a later time."

Contact Luke Shockman at:

or 419-724-6084.

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