Why Do They Call It "THE" Ohio State University

Whenever I hear an Ohio State University alum speak about their alma mater, they always refer to it as “The Ohio State University”. Is there a reason behind this? Is this some secret buckeye tradition, that the rest of the world has been left out of?

Why is it “The Bronx”? (actually I know why :wink: ). But I’ve never heard (Can’t recall hearing) Ohio State used w/ the “the”.

Maybe 'cause there’s only “the” one? Or maybe to distinguish OSU from Ohio University, that bunch of hedonists down in Athens?

BTW, welcome to the Straight Dope!

Because they think they’re better than us. But they’re not…oh no…they’re not…

Actually there are thirteen state universities in Ohio, if you are referring to four-year public colleges and universities. I agree with Triton, it’s simply arrogance.

In the same way, The University of Texas likes to include and capitalize the article. For this reason, many Aggies(A&M) mock UT by calling it TU, for “The University”.

Of course, my university (UVA) refers to itself as “The University”. Us arrogant? Nah…

Out here in CA we have 20 or 23 or whatever state universities and another bunch that don’t have the dreaded word state in them. Those are the University of California at _______ and there are 6 or 7 or so of them. The state ones felt shamed a few years ago and decided to call them all UNIVERSITIES so as to reclaim their pride, so to speak. :wink:

I’ve attended, graduated and worked at them, and they’re still ivory towers. Haven’t a clue as to what’s really going on in the world. So I think it’s only a matter of arrogance, as if anyone else cares.

Actually the University of California, which has 9 campuses, calls 8 of the 9 University of California, City Name. The exception is the University of California at Berkeley.

But people there sometimes just refer to the school as UC. You never see UCB.

The headquarters of the University of California system used to be in Berkeley, but it is now in Oakland.

UCLA hates to be referred to by any name other than its initials.

UC Santa Barbara prefers its initials: UCSB. But most of the other schools are usually referred to by the city name “Davis”, “Irvine”, “Santa Cruz”, “Riverside”

As for the OP, I believe that Ohio State and Ohio U are in a bit of a spat over trademarks. That may explain why “The” is becoming prominent. It’s a branding issue.

The OSU band spells out “Ohio” and not “OSU”. Of course, it’s hard to dot anything in OSU.

Maybe. But I believe the trademark dispute has only become an issue in the past decade. I know that TOSU was emphasizing the article in the mid-80s, and probably for years before that.

I’m pretty sure that my tuition checks are made out to “The Pennsylvania State University.” My (unsubstantiated) guess is that it has something to do with being the state’s designated land-grant university. i.e., if you read it as, “The Pennsylvania (Ohio, Texas, etc.) Land-Grant University” it makes more sense, there only being one land-grant university in each state. And maybe it comes from back before there was a college in every town with more than 5000 people in it…Just my two cents.

You are correct about Penn State


Ohio State grabbed http://www.osu.edu before Oregon State and Oklahoma State also.

I understand about the historical factors, but more specifically I speak of how the alumni go out of their way to say THE Ohio State University.

For instance, I saw Eddie George (former Ohio State Running Back) on MTV giving a tour of his home. He points to his Heisman Trophy saying “I won this at The Ohio State University”.

I have never heard a Penn State Alum referring to it as “The Penn State”, or almost any other school for that matter. However, OSU’s biggest rival The University of Michigan students do it to get under OSU’s skin.

Have you ever had the chicken pox? What about the clap? The flu? The plague?

All of those sound okay, right? Now consider:

Have you ever had the malaria? How about the tetanus? The diptheria? What about the meningitis or the tuberculosis?

That last group doesn’t sound quite right with “the” in front of the object, so It’s got to be one of those goofy grammar things.

It also bugs me when buildings put names on their façade such as “The Carelton” or “The Bastille” (you’d think just “Carelton” would be sufficient, and people would automatically put “the” in front when talking about it), but restaurants don’t do it (“The Wendy’s” or “The Pizza Hut”).

Just had to get that off my chest.

I think its nothing but arrogance. Whenever I see former OSU players give there introductions on Monday night football, they always emphasize the word “the” to the point of sounding ridiculous.

Of course, I went to Michigan so I’m a little biased.:slight_smile:

I really think it’s just a matter of style. The newest arena in Los Angeles is called Staples Center. No “the” in front of it and the LA Times almost destroyed itself over this issue. (Which is a long story unrelated to this issue).

Toronto has SkyDome, not The SkyDome.

There may be something to this. Seems to apply as regards Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Texas is another story, for A&M is the land grant school, not UT.

Also, many states have more than one land grant school, but this seems to be due to the addition of a number of traditionally black colleges. I don’t think that’s the case for MIT and UMass, go figure.

Land grant institutions

Arrogant? I don’t know, maybe. Pretentious? Definitely! Don’t let anyone there catch you referring to “The Grounds” :rolleyes: as “campus.” You folks sure do take that seriously.

I went to Ohio State and, except in official announcements, nobody there ever referred to it as The Ohio State University. Incidentally, I can remember as far back as 1970, and even then in official announcements it was often referred to as The Ohio State University.

UCLA also hates to be beaten by SC, but it happens. :smiley:

Oh, shut up. I was almost over that. But we’ll get you in basketball, and the other 30 sports.
We Bruins have a lot of chips on our shoulders. We call the UC campus in the East Bay “UC Berkeley”, NEVER the “University of California”. Hey, I too went to the University of California, specifically the Los Angeles campus.