Monday, July 28, 2014

R.I.P. UNC-G: The Hyphen Takes a Hike

"It's the kind of thing we tend not to think about until it's gone - something so basic and everyday that it becomes part of the wallpaper. At UNC-G, we began 1986 with something our university will probably never have again - a piece of our history from 23 years ago when our school became co-educational and dropped the 'Woman's College' moniker it had so long and proudly held."

These words in the 1986 edition of the Pine Needles yearbook don't refer to any person, place, or thing of particular importance on campus. Instead, it refers to a January 1986 administrative decision that, from then on, the University's name should be abbreviated as "UNCG," as opposed to the "UNC-G" designator that had often been used since the institution's name change in July 1963.

The Pine Needles' tribute to the fallen hyphen
While the decision was not announced via an official University press release, there was a concerted effort by administrators to provide "uniformity in the University's visual identity" by standardizing the abbreviation used. Prior to 1986, no formal regulations guiding the abbreviation of the school's name existed.

In late 1985, administrators combed through the University's archives and found that North Carolina General Statutes regarding the name change in 1963 only referred to the full name of the institution. No abbreviations were mandated or even used in the official records. Wilson M. Davis, director of UNCG's Office of Information Services, wrote on December 31, 1985, "at present, the predominant usage on campus in print is UNC-G. In the news media, it is strictly UNC-G, except for an occassional slip-up in an out-of-town paper. Most publications on campus have traditionally used UNC-G, but some have also used UNCG. The Bookstore has it both ways on sweatshirts and other materials. It is used both ways on athletic uniforms. Men's basketball jerseys are without the dash and women's basketball shirts use the dash."

1985-1986 men's basketball team (with their un-hyphenated UNCG jerseys)

1985-1986 women's basketball team (sporting UNC-G hyphenated jerseys)

With no consistency in references to the school, administrators sought to standardize the abbreviations used across campus in all internal and external communications. In line with other UNC system schools, such as UNCW in Wilmington and UNCC in Charlotte, the decision was made to permanently forgo the hyphen. Beginning in late January 1986, official press releases issued by the Office of Information Services all refer to the institution as UNCG. Other information outlets on campus, however, weren't so quick to implement the change (including that 1986 Pine Needles, which uses UNCG and UNC-G interchangeably throughout the publication).

"History will record 1986 as the year we lost our hyphen, this is true" continued the Pine Needles piece. "Once all the UNC-G shirts, UNC-G team uniforms, and UNC-G stationery are gone, our hyphen will fade into history - a dim memory from the past to be puzzled over in the future by the same sort of people who wonder who the McIver Statue is 'of' and who the Jarrell Lecture Hall is named after."

Indeed, the hyphen has faded from most use today, and the current University Brand Guide clearly states (in bold), "When addressing audiences familiar with the university ... use UNCG." "UNC-G" falls at the bottom of a list of "unacceptable uses of the institution's name."
When addressing audiences familiar with the university — people such as faculty, staff, alumni, students and community members who know what these letters stand for — use UNCG. - See more at: http://ure.uncg.edu/brandguide/?brandcat=university-names#sthash.qRI0Q5nZ.dpuf
When addressing audiences familiar with the university — people such as faculty, staff, alumni, students and community members who know what these letters stand for — use UNCG. - See more at: http://ure.uncg.edu/brandguide/?brandcat=university-names#sthash.qRI0Q5nZ.dpuf

No comments:

Post a Comment