Victoria University of Wellington wants to drop the former monarch from its name to distinguish itself from similarly named institutions around the world.
A final decision will be made in just over a fortnight, with the university arguing the “Victoria” did nothing to improve its reputation abroad.
There are 15 tertiary providers around the world with Victoria in their name.
Vice-chancellor Grant Guilford said this had caused issues for the university.
“We‘re having particular difficulty with the Victoria University of Melbourne, and we‘re finding that lack of quality at that university is spilling over to negatively affect our reputation internationally.
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“And some of the work of our people, that‘s really high-quality, is being attributed to that university as well.”
It also caused issues for graduates, he said.
“When they go to compete for premier jobs offshore, or even any job offshore, and they come up against other graduates from other universities, not having a qualification from a prestigious or esteemed institution is of detriment to their ability to get that job.”
Only about a dozen people attended the meeting, but the audience included previous and present students.
Student Daniela Butterfield was not keen on the change at first.
“The heritage is something good to hold onto. I think, myself, Victoria sounds quite prestigious.”
However, after the meeting she was more on the fence. Fellow student Wolf Truong agreed.
“I hadn‘t stopped to consider international recognition, admittedly, and so before this meeting I was pretty anti the whole thing.
“I‘m pretty ambiguous now. So it‘s probably softened my view on the matter.”
Alumnus Richard Boag said a new name would suit the progress the university had made since he graduated.
“The original Victoria University I grew up with was a joke.
“It was the worst performing university in the country and I‘m sure I‘ll get shot down in flames for saying it, but it was the $10 University with the million dollar view. And it‘s done an extraordinary turn around in the last 10 years.”
How much will it cost?
The university has spent $60,000 on market research, and there will be some additional costs for new signage and website design.
But the university would save money on advertising by benefiting from current advertising campaigns for Wellington City.
A boost in international students would bring in tens of millions of dollars, Mr Guilford said.
“We‘re not in a hurry, it‘s more of a retirement of the name, rather than euthanising it. It doesn‘t need to disappear overnight.”