What to call a college

In my role as Director of the Uniting Learning Network, in the Uniting Church in NSW/ACT, I’m exploring the possibility of renaming the theological college based at 16 Masons Drive, North Parramatta. This exploration is associated with the integration of resourcing consultants and associated educators alongside current and new academic faculty, ministry formation leaders and vocational education and training staff. Rebranding UTC is a way to help establish a culture of collaboration within and around the college. It’s also a way to communicate with the wider church community that we’re not looking at business as usual.

Hello Our Name Is

This is not a matter of keeping up with everyone else. But I do note that South Australia Synod renamed Parkin Wesley College as Uniting College of Leadership and Theology. Queensland has renamed Trinity Theological College and Pilgrim Learning Community as Trinity College Queensland. Victoria/Tasmania has renamed The United Theological Faculty as Pilgrim College, set in the Centre for Theology and Ministry which also holds the work of what was known as Otira College.

So what needs to be in a name?

  • Where you’d connect with the Uniting Learning Network
  • Able to be remembered
  • Quickly communicates purpose
  • Not already taken (also applies to website address)
  • Unlikely to form an unfortunate acronym
  • Fits well alongside a logo
  • Can travel from one location to another (if we ever moved)
  • Where you’d want to enrol for a theology course
  • Where you’d find good resources
  • Where you’d attend great seminars and conferences
  • Where you’d reflect on ministry
  • Where you’d be welcome as a Uniting Church member
  • Where you’d be welcome as someone not in the UCA

An initial brainstorming session this week formed three columns: Name, Function, Institution.

First ideas come from the Uniting theme.

United Theological College (status quo)
Uniting Learning Centre
Union Ministry School

Presbyterian churches often have Saints names, like St Andrew’s, St David’s, St Columba’s, St James. We could join the Anglican partners in the School of Theology who are St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Canberra, St Francis Theological College, Brisbane, St Barnabas Theological College, Adelaide. St Andrew’s Theological College is already taken by the Greek Orthodox in Sydney. St Paul’s is a Catholic seminary in Brisbane. St James is an Ethics Centre in Sydney. St Athanasius is a Coptic theological college in Melbourne.

St Columba’s
All Saints

Methodist and Congregational churches are more likely to use geographical locations in their names, though if we moved this could be a problem.

Burnside Resource Hub
Masons Drive Temple (just kidding!)
North Parramatta Pilgrim Lodge

Some colleges are named after significant church leaders of the past. Booth College was named after Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth. Ridley College in Melbourne was named after a 16th-century English Reformation martyr, Nicholas Ridley. Some colleges are named after past principals. NSW Baptist College was renamed Morling College in 1985 in honour of George Morling.

Ferguson College – a reference to Graeme Ferguson, the founding principal of UTC
Macleod College – a reference to Malcolm Macleod who helped to form UTC.

Of course if someone offered a couple of million dollars they could name the college. Moore College in Sydney was named after Thomas Moore, an early Sydney settler who left a substantial estate to the Church of England.

Brian Brown College
Clive Palmer Retreat Centre


What would you add to this list? Any favourites?

2 Replies to “What to call a college”

  1. In a year of conversation about a national college, 3 colleges rename and rebrand. Coincidence? Unrelated? A sign of what colleges really think of the national conversation? Or another category for you to consider – national names?

  2. [The] Jesus Institute. Declares the heart and soul and purpose in two or three words. Emphasises that the agenda is about the teachings and example of Jesus first and foremost rather than a particular institutional doctrine or preferred biblical ‘saint’. Draws people who are seeking to follow and learn from Jesus. Acknowledges where the inspiration for Christianity comes from. Removes the outmoded use of denominational name constraints and therefore declares its inclusivity. Thanks for asking.

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