November 2, 2007

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to let you know that today Penn State University's Board of Trustees approved our campus' proposal for a name change. We are now ? Penn State Brandywine!

Why the change? For many years - frankly, throughout the 40 years of our existence - our campus has been confused with neighboring educational institutions with "Delaware" in the name. Just about each one of us on campus has experienced this confusion first-hand, whether it's speaking to a caller with the wrong location, or explaining to visitors that they really meant to be somewhere else, or finding out an expected delivery landed at the wrong destination.

Additionally, our growth over the last 40 years has been accompanied by an increasingly diverse geographic representation on campus.  While in the early years our students came primarily from Delaware County, we now have a more regional complexion, drawing from neighboring counties, the city of Philadelphia, parts of southern New Jersey and the state of Delaware.

It was critically important to address these issues, since they both impact our identity.  We don't want to be the "best kept secret" in southeastern Pennsylvania. We want everyone to know, without question, that we are an outstanding Penn State campus, with a top-notch faculty, staff and students, one of the premiere institutions in the area, and a campus that is facing a very promising future.

After many months of consultation, a campus committee submitted its recommendation for a name change, and two possibilities were identified. Under the guidance of a faculty member with a strong background in marketing research, we hired an interviewer to test the two choices by interviewing current and prospective students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff. Conversations also took place with the campus Advisory Board, as well as Delaware County government representatives and community leaders. Finally, members of the larger Penn State community were interviewed as well.

The research showed that Penn State Brandywine appealed to a wide array of constituent groups.  First, Penn State Brandywine will eliminate the confusion with the "Delaware" name. Secondly, with the Brandywine region stretching from the state of Delaware into southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond, the new name more accurately reflects our enrollment area, and where we see the growth continuing to take place in the next several decades.

We are firmly committed to our Delaware County home. We believe that our new name will help us serve the residents of Delaware County even better, by attracting a greater number of students, and promoting more growth.

As we proudly celebrate the campus' 40th anniversary this year, we anticipate a very exciting future for our students and our community. I hope you will be a part of this venture, and I encourage you to check our 40th website often.

Sophia T. Wisniewska

P.S. Please save the date - May 10, 2008 - as we celebrate our past and toast our future at the 40th Anniversary Gala. Look for more information in the weeks ahead.