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Margin Notes

Quiz: What’s your university’s tagline?

Taglines are always interesting – a sort of Rorschach test for institutions’ identities.


It’s fairly common for universities to try to distinguish themselves from one another. Part of that is branding, although I must say I don’t hear universities talk too much about their particular “brand” nowadays – not compared to five or 10 years ago, when it seems to me this was more common.

During that period, quite a number of universities devised taglines as part of their identity. I see some universities have dropped them in the intervening years, but they’re still fairly common. A quick count of the 95 member institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada found roughly a third (31 members) use a tagline. For the purposes of this little survey, the tagline had to be right up there with the logo of the university on that university’s homepage for it to count.

Looking at these taglines is always interesting – a sort of Rorschach test for institutions’ identities and aspirations. In at least one case, it can also lead to a bit of controversy. I remember when Carleton University came up with “Canada’s Capital University” – a nice double-entendre, since it’s in the nation’s capital and the adjective “capital” means important or leading. But, around the same time, crosstown rival University of Ottawa came up with “Canada’s University,” which to some was a bit too similar.

It’s fun to look at these taglines for what they say about their institutions, so with that in mind I’ve devised a little quiz. Below on the left you’ll find 10 taglines, which you need to match with the correct university on the right. The answers are below.

[table id=1 /]

(Scroll down for answers.)







Answers: 1-C, 2-A, 3-I, 4-J, 5-F, 6-H, 7-D, 8-E, 9-G, 10-B

Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
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