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National association representing Canada’s universities changes its name

Universities Canada, formerly AUCC, says new name is ‘bold and contemporary’


Universities Canada is the new name for the national association representing Canada’s universities. Formerly the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the national body unveiled its new name and logo at a meeting of its members in Halifax today.

“We want the name to reflect more clearly who we are and what we stand for,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada, based in Ottawa.

“It is deliberately bold and contemporary. And we picked a name that works well in both official languages.” In French, the new name is Universités Canada.

Mr. Davidson stressed that renaming the 104-year-old association doesn’t imply a change in its mission or in its role as the voice of Canada’s universities.

“It’s not that we’re changing who we are and what we stand for. We are articulating more clearly who we are and what we stand for,” he said.

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A Universities Canada employee removes the old AUCC logo.

The association represents 97 not-for-profit Canadian universities and university-degree level colleges, and it has criteria for membership which define the attributes of a university in Canada. It doesn’t represent community colleges, and that was sometimes a source of confusion with the former name.

Another impetus for the name change was to be consistent with international counterparts, said Mr. Davidson. Since 2000, Universities Australia and Universities UK have rebranded themselves from their previous, much longer names.

Simplifying the association’s name had been contemplated for some time, and recent federal legislative changes made it easier to institute a corporate name change. “We celebrated our 100th anniversary a few years back and it’s 50 years since our last name change, and we just felt now is a good time to present ourselves this way,” Mr. Davidson said.

He also noted that there will be at least 80 new members of Parliament in Ottawa after the next election (due to both an increase in the number of MPs and replacing those who’ve said they won’t run in the election). The new name, he said, “is a chance to change gears for the fall and to ready us for 2017” when Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday.

Underline Studio in Toronto led the design for the rebranding and developed the diamond image that is meant to symbolize the multifaceted, dynamic way that universities interact with their diverse stakeholders. Underline Studio also redesigned the University Affairs website last year and is art director of University Affairs magazine, published by Universities Canada.


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  1. Richard MacKenzie / April 22, 2015 at 15:59

    I must admit I can’t get too excited about a name change (what was it Shakespeare said about a rose again…?). However, I found a little bit of irony in the statement that one impetus for the name change — essentially getting rid of the “c-word” — is to be “consistent with international counterparts”, given that in the US one doesn’t go to university, one goes to college.

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