This country, apparently, is big enough for two Whartons. Two weeks ago, Ohio Valley University (in, coincidentally, West Virginia) renamed its business school with Wharton in the name, echoing the namesake of Penn’s Wharton School. Surprisingly, though, there’s been little backlash–though Penn has yet to comment on whether they’ll be pursuing legal action.
Either way, students don’t seem to be phased:
Students at Penn did not see any potential conflict either.
Wharton senior Junia Zhang, the president of MUSE, Wharton’s undergraduate marketing group, does not believe that the renaming of OVU’s business school will cause confusion or damage Wharton’s name recognition.
Nonetheless, “Wharton might react negatively because they are protective of our brand,” she said.
OVU College of Business Dean C. Joy Jones also expects no further problems to develop:
Jones did not seem to think a lawsuit was likely. “The name of the college of business and IT is the Gene and Joyce Wharton School of Business and Information Technology,” Jones said. “It is not meant to reference any other [school named] Wharton. It will only be referenced in its entirety. It won’t be shortened.”
Which, of course, makes sense because OVU isn’t pulling its Wharton cred from the same benefactors to Penn’s business school. Unfortunately, though, it seems that it requires an Ivy League education to recognize an non-issue when one arises. [DP]