What’s in a name?

My given name is Robert. I only heard that name when I was in trouble though. I went by Robbie most of the time. But I grew out of that name. Now it’s Rob that people know me by.

While pondering my own name recently, I was curious what the result would be if I asked 10 random people what the name of the four-year university in town is. I was certain most would simply say “Cal State.” I was right — six said “Cal State,” one was my five-year-old nephew who I was shocked even knew to say that — one said “CSUB,” and three said “Cal State Bakersfield.”

Not one person called it by its formal name — California State University, Bakersfield. That makes sense, though. It’s too long and formal to say that in a normal conversation. Like Robert.

“Cal State” has become convenient. People have used it forever, since the institution was a small liberal arts college 40 years ago. But, like Robbie, the university has outgrown the name. “Cal State” does not distinguish the institution’s transition to the comprehensive regional university it is today.

For this reason, we think it’s time to put “Cal State” on the shelf.

As the institution enters a new era of excellence, more official names like CSU Bakersfield or the simple acronym — CSUB — seem most appropriate and have become increasingly preferred on campus.

The goal is to have this resonate within the community at large.

GET buses “get” it. Golden Empire Transit recently changed the way they list their campus stop on the digital display above their buses’ windshields. They used to say “Cal State.” Today, they say CSUB.

Will you jump on the bus too? Rob will.

— By Rob Meszaros, CSUB Director of Public Affairs and Communications

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