What's in a Name? You Are

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2016


It is a great pleasure to introduce a new look and new name with this issue of the magazine.

The magazine formerly known as Minnesota is now Minnesota Alumni, as you likely noticed on the cover. I recently unveiled the new name and design to the University’s alumni relations officers, our collegiate partners, by commenting that it was the magazine, not us, that instigated the change. In response, one of the officers quipped, “Do you take medication for that?”

Granted it sounds a little odd to say that the magazine wanted to change its name. But over the past year, as we have poked, prodded, and examined every aspect of our design, our storytelling, our mission, and our audience, it became clear that you—alumni—needed to be as visible in our name as you are in our pages.

In a very real sense, this change harkens back to the magazine’s roots. Since its inception in 1901, the magazine has had six different names:

The Minnesota Alumni Weekly (1901 to 1943)

Minnesota Alumnus (1943 to 1949)

Minnesota Voice of the Alumni (1949 to 1954)

Minnesota Alumni Voice (1954 to 1955)

Minnesota Gopher Grad (1955 to 1959)

University of Minnesota Alumni News (1959 to 1977)

In 1977 the magazine became Minnesota, the only iteration without reference to alumni in the name. As the Alumni Association has honed its focus to be more responsive than ever to alumni, reclaiming that identity emerged as a natural and seamless step.

At least, that’s what the magazine told us. And when a 114-year-old speaks, you listen.

You also give her a well-deserved facelift. Our redesign, led by art director Kristi Anderson—one of the most knowledgeable and skilled magazine designers in the Twin Cities—pumped oxygen into our pages. The result is a fresh, contemporary feel that fully complements the work of our outstanding photographers and writers.

Other changes include a regular column from President and fellow alumnus Eric Kaler (Ph.D. ’82), who will offer his thoughts on important issues facing him and the University. We have also added a new column on the back page called Heart of the Matter, a short, first person essay in which writers will speak from the heart on matters of their choosing. And we have added a new section called Stay Connected that will keep you apprised of Alumni Association events, programming, and member advantages. We’re constantly adding new offerings, such as our extremely popular webinar series and Gold Mind, a collection of University faculty and expert talks.

Last year we conducted a reader survey that helped guide our decision making. The column by President Kaler is, in part, a response to your comments that you value hearing from key leaders on important issues. You also told us you like reading about University research and discoveries, University history, important campus issues, and the contributions that alumni make to their communities and to the world. We will continue to do all of that, and more, in an inviting new format.

Enjoy the inaugural issue of Minnesota Alumni.

Cynthia Scott (M.A. ’89) can be reached at scott325@umn.edu

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