In 2015, our organization embarked on a rebranding that changed our official legal name from “Cal Humanities” to “California Humanities,“ which harkened back to our original founding name, “California Council for the Humanities.” But we’ve noticed that people long familiar with our organization, as well as new friends, supporters, and grantees, still can’t quite seem to let that older name go!
One of the reasons for the change is that “Cal” is very closely associated with UC Berkeley. The first school in the University of California system, “Cal” is especially familiar amongst alumni and used in reference to the university’s sports programs (though now UC Berkeley is going through its own rebranding issues).
As an independent nonprofit and state partner of the National Endowment of the Humanities, California Humanities is not associated with UC Berkeley in any official capacity, and dropping “Cal” was meant to avoid any confusion over an implied association.
By extension, in restoring the full name of “California” in “California Humanities,” we reinforced that we are a statewide organization, not only one based in the East Bay or Los Angeles (where we currently have office locations).
We realize that change is hard! Years after this rebranding effort, we’re back to remind our friends, supporters, partners, and community, that “California Humanities (not “Cal Humanities”)” is the preferred usage in both written and spoken form.
We believe that our full legal name is more inclusive of our state-spanning work, and we hope you’ll join us in spreading the word!