Rowland Hall-St Marks Had A Marketing Problem

The problem was the “saint” in the name, as Utah is the state of the Saints. The Salt Lake private school has changed its name so that it will seem less parochial sounding and easier to market to local families looking for an educational alternative.
Rolly: A sign of the times? – Salt Lake Tribune

Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s School has been a prominent fixture in Utah education for about 130 years. Founded by the Episcopal Church, the school has proudly boasted on uniforms, school communications and signs its motto: “Nihil Longus Deo” Never Far from God.

Until now.

The school began this year to put a little distance between it and God.

A recent letter sent to the Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s community from marketing and publications director Susan Koles noted the new logo, sans the Latin motto, and said that on public displays and official communications, the school will be referred to as Rowland Hall, dropping the St. Mark’s part.

Apparently it’s the “St.” that’s the sticky part.

Koles told me that while school officials will always be proud of its Episcopal tradition St. Mark’s was founded in 1867, Rowland Hall in 1880, and they later merged, it has been independent of the church “for a long time, although we still have an Episcopal chaplain and the school teaches world religions and ethics.”

A marketing firm hired to assess the school’s image found that because of the “St. Mark’s” part of the school name, many people believed it was a parochial school, which it is not. Hence, the move to a more secular public image.

The school’s official name still is Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s, and it will appear that way on diplomas. It just won’t be publicized.

It’s too bad, really. My niece Raeanne graduated from there, and a relative by marriage got married there in their beautiful, English style chapel. My pre-teen encounter with a full-on High Church marriage service is one of the experiences that led me to become an Episcopalian.

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