Gordon Tech College Prep may soon become DePaul College Prep. But not all are on board with a potential name change for the high school that has been on the Northwest Side since the early 1960s.
Letters were sent out Jan. 18 to Gordon Tech alumni, alerting them to a meeting Wednesday of the “Gordon Rebranding Committee” to discuss ways to “ensure that the school’s image, reputation, and brand identity evolve” to reflect academic improvements, according to a letter written by Mary Dempsey, the city’s former library commissioner and a member of DePaul’s board of trustees. Dempsey is the chair of Gordon Tech’s Rebranding Task Force, which was formed by the school board in November; she is also the vice chair of Gordon Tech’s Board of Directors.
In addition to examining a possible name change, part of the task force’s mission is also to expand the school’s academics, upgrade facilities and add technology.
According to the task force letter, many families of prospective students have voiced their opinion that the school’s academic partnership with DePaul University — which began in 2012 — is one of the most “promising changes” to have happened to the school, which has struggled with falling enrollment and fundraising.
Those families have “suggested that changing the name of the school to reflect the DePaul partnership might provide a higher degree of comfort that the academic improvement will continue,” the letter said. “DePaul University has not asked us for a name change, nor are they taking over governance of the school.”
Ultimately, the decision to change the name to DePaul will be made by the Congregation of the Resurrection — made up of a group of Roman Catholic priests, brothers and seminarians who founded Gordon Tech and many other Chicago-area schools. Adrian Cazares, a 2000 graduate, said the school provided him with skills that carried him into his professional life. He now runs his own private equity and venture capital firm. He plans to wear orange — the school’s colors — to Wednesday’s meeting, and has been chosen to speak on behalf of alumni.
“A community staple is again falling wayside to change, and if it does, it will be a shame,” said Cazares.
He said he doesn’t believe a name change will raise the school’s profile: “That’s crap. It’s like Wrigley Field. You can’t just rename it to give it more attention.”
Through Facebook and Twitter, Cazares and other alumni are trying to keep Gordon Tech orange, spreading the word on an alumni association page, and also tweeting with the hashtag #WeAreGT.
Cazares said he was disheartened to see the school’s colors, and some of its history erased from the school’s walls. He said graduating class pictures, pendants and historical items have been taken down.
“All the hallways have already been painted DePaul blue. They’ve done everything but change the name,” Cazares said.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Dempsey would not comment on a name change and calledit “an ongoing process.”
“The whole purpose of this effort is to hear from our constituents, groups within our school,” Dempsey said. “The school is very strong. The school is getting stronger. It’s a good process.”
She said more meetings are planned following Wednesday’s meeting.
Not all alumni are upset about a potential name change. Some believe the changes could increase Gordon Tech’s image as a premiere Chicago high school.
Dan LoPiccolo is a 2005 graduate, and plans to attend the 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting at the school.
“We’re not students anymore and so if they can better serve students by reposition, I’m for that. I’m for what’s best for the next generation of students to come,” LoPiccolo said.