Lantern file photo
Almost one year after The Ohio State University Medical Center became the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, the cost of the change has yet to be revealed.
The Medical Center is still working to make the signs and logos match the new title, but any budget for those changes is not readily available.
In 2011, Wexner and his wife, Abigail, along with the Limited Brands Foundation donated $100 million to the Medical Center, the James Cancer Research Hospital and the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Last February, the name change was announced, and some changes were made to reflect it visually.
Since then, The Lantern has been seeking the cost of the Medical Center change, but officials say the ongoing nature of the change prevents a final budget from being calculated.
“This is a gradual conversion, very measured and attentive to updating items as we replenish our stock. We will embark on more permanent changes as part of our overall implementation strategy,” said Beth NeCamp, chief communications officer for the Wexner Medical Center, in an email statement to The Lantern.
She said the university’s visual identity is evolving, so the Medical Center was “very deliberate” in making sure its necessary visual identity adaptations were made.
Individual items will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to see if they will be updated.
“We did not change signs, for example, the Eye and Ear Institute on Olentangy River Road, and all of the CarePoint locations still have the signage featuring the DNA symbol. We did not change staff ID badges, and only minimal physician lab coats were changed,” NeCamp said.
Smaller items such as paper letterhead, logos on digital properties and social media sites were made at no additional cost. Letterhead logos were changed as they were reordered, NeCamp said. The logo and name were also changed as new advertisements were created.
Experts said it’s unusual that the Wexner Medical Center has no known budget plan.
Marketing professor at the University of Southern California Joseph DeBell said the logical step in changing the name of such a large institution is to inform the public that the company is staying the same but now has all of the positivity and assets of a donor backing them as well.
While changing the name of an institution does require signage changes, DeBell said there also must be communication with the public and current patients through the use of mass media along with social media. DeBell said changing a name “would cost a lot too.”
Andrew Dickson, a financial analyst for a multinational oil and gas company said that normally in a large corporation before a decision was made, a big budget breakdown would be put in place. He explained that the breakdown helps to determine “incremental costs,” which include new costs that would not have incurred if the name change had not been made, as well as other analyses.
The situation at the Medical Center is “pretty unconventional in terms of typical investments” Dickson said, because in this case, the pay-off for the change was already known since Wexner made the donation.
Wexner is a “local celebrity,” said Nicholas McDowell, a third-year in psychology. He said if the changes don’t affect the personal reflection on OSU or the foundation of the Medical Center, he doesn’t see the name change as a problem.
Dickson said when talking about investments, a corporation usually learns what it would cost to finance the extra investment, which doesn’t necessarily mean the money must come up front, it could be financed through loans. Additional costs are also discussed, such tangible changes and extra salaries and benefits of the staff members hired to manage the changes.
As far as the Medical Center goes, Dickson said the “cost of the name change isn’t enough to really matter,” in relation to how large of a donation the Wexners made.