It ain’t Oregon State, and it ain’t Oklahoma State. It’s THE Ohio State University.
With school President Edward Orton believing the institution’s original name “Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College” an inadequate reflection of the vast reach and scope of the school’s programs, he got the board of trustees together to rename it to “The Ohio State University” in 1878. By adding that definite article, the school sought to not only define itself as the state’s preeminent university, but also throw shade at intra-state schools, especially Ohio University. More than 100 years later, in 1986 the university, which had been using the OSU logo, reemphasized the all-important THE to re-establish the “national stature of the institution.” Pay homage.