Having another “Wharton” pop up on the market doesn’t seem to be concerning to anyone.
Since Ohio Valley University renamed its business school two weeks ago to include Wharton in the name, they have not been contacted by Penn’s Wharton School, according to C. Joy Jones, the dean of OVU’s College of Business.
When asked on Monday about the development, Wharton declined to comment on whether or not it is planning to pursue legal action against OVU. Wharton has in the past sued the Wharton Business Foundation and Wharton Advisors Corp over their names.
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.”
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.
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OVU’s business school is named after local business owners Gene and Joyce Wharton, who have a long history of involvement with the school. Gene Wharton has been on the university’s Board of Trustees for 33 years, serving as the chairman of the board from 2001-2004. Their children also attended OVU, which has a total of 501 students.
“He and his wife have been generous over a consistent period of time, and that was one way our board honored them,” said Jones.
OVU is associated with the United Churches of Christ, a loose confederation of autonomous congregations.
All students at the school, including business students, are required to take between four and five bible classes, depending on their previous knowledge. Christian doctrine is not integrated into business classes.
Wharton has been working to redefine its brand in recent years. Last year, the school created a new motto, “Knowledge for Action,” after consulting students, faculty and alumni in the school.
“Really, it’s a non-issue,” MUSE board member and Wharton and College senior Chris Chan said. “The [Wharton] brand is as strong as ever.”
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