NUI Galway may rebrand amid confusion over its title

‘University of Galway’ is one option under consideration by college management

NUI Galway is considering rebranding to ‘University of Galway’ in a bid to emphasise its status as a university to an international audience. Photograph: Patrick Henehan

NUI Galway is considering rebranding to ‘University of Galway’ in a bid to emphasise its status as a university to an international audience. Photograph: Patrick Henehan

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It was formerly known as Queen’s College Galway and University College Galway. Now, NUI Galway looks set to change its name once again.

College authorities are considering rebranding to “University of Galway” in a bid to strengthen its identity and emphasise its status as a university to an international audience.

The Irish Times understands that the college is concerned over poor name-recognition with “NUI” (National University of Ireland), as well as ambiguity over its official title which is variously referred to as NUIG or NUI Galway.

Rebranding

In a statement, the university said: “We can confirm that the university is currently assessing the potential for rebranding.

“While Údarás na hOllscoile, the governing authority of NUI Galway, and staff have been briefed on considerations around a project of this nature, no decisions have been made.”

While the titles “University of Galway” or “Galway University” have been discussed, it is understood the college would continue to maintain its links with the NUI.

Academics also want to settle on a title that works in Irish, given the special status afforded to the language at the university.

The 176-year-old university was founded as Queen’s College Galway before changing to University College Galway (UCG) in 1908.

This followed the establishment of the NUI as a federal university with three constituent colleges in Cork, Dublin and Galway.

In the late 1990s, UCG – along with UCC, UCD and Maynooth – were recognised as full universities with looser ties to the NUI under the Universities Act (1997).

This led to changes in their legal names to NUI Cork, Dublin, Galway and Maynooth.

Legal advice

It is understood the college had hoped to style itself as “University of Galway” at the time, but received legal advice that this was not permitted under the Universities Act.

However, UCC and UCD opted to continue with their old names, despite a change to their legal names.

In 2014, NUI Maynooth decided to rebrand itself as Maynooth University, citing confusion over its official title in a global education landscape and the fact that its former title omitted the word “university”. Its legal name, however, remains NUI Maynooth.

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