The SUNY Cortland Brand

Our brand exists primarily in the perceptions people have about us: who we are, what we do and why it matters. Every time we communicate, whether it’s posting on social media, sending an email or talking with others directly, people form new opinions about SUNY Cortland based on their interactions with us.

That’s why it’s so important to be on the same page about our brand identity — the tangible system of design and copy we use every day to tell the world about ourselves.

The more consistent and confident we are when telling the SUNY Cortland story, the better our audiences will understand and trust what we have to say.

Key brand elements:


The full, official name is State University of New York at Cortland. Another acceptable form is SUNY Cortland. In subsequent reference, you may use Cortland or the university.

Unacceptable names include:

  • C-State
  • Cortland College
  • Cortland State
  • Cortland State University
  • State University at Cortland
  • State College at Cortland
  • State University of New York College at Cortland
  • SUC
  • S.U.C.C.
  • SUC-Cortland
  • SUNY College at Cortland
  • S.U.N.Y. Cortland
  • SUNY-Cortland

The university will continue to use SUNY Cortland exclusively as the shortened version of its full official name to solidify the Cortland brand and to negate any public confusion that may arise from using multiple names to describe the same institution.

Theme: "All in"

Our brand theme presents our strongest and most unique position in the market. This is not a tagline, but rather a simple, distilled phrase that forms a foundational point for our strategy.

All in

Halfway isn’t how we do things at SUNY Cortland. Red Dragons dig deeper, reach higher and achieve more. That's what it means to be all in.

We work hard. That’s one reason why our graduates go on to lead meaningful lives all over the globe, in education, business, government, fitness, medicine, science and many other fields. From the classroom to the laboratory to remote wilderness trails, our students succeed in all settings.

We never give up. That might explain why we’ve won more than 130 national championships in athletics. 

We tackle challenges head-on. Red Dragon Strong is more than an expression. It’s a way of saying that student success takes priority and relies on a collective effort across campus.

We’re proud to be Red Dragons. Because when every moment is a chance to take initiative, when you approach everything in life with an unshakable drive — from the most routine to the most rigorous — we believe you can set the world in motion.

To incorporate the brand theme, you can use other words that start with "in," such as:

  • Invested
  • Involved
  • Inclusive 
  • Inspired


Language is a powerful tool in communicating the SUNY Cortland message, particularly in our print and online communications.

By consistently incorporating messages that support the university’s initiatives and brand attributes, we reinforce to our audiences what we are doing and how they will benefit from a SUNY Cortland education and experience.

The tone or voice of all communication materials — particularly the university website, the Viewbook, alumni and advancement materials — should be consistent.

The tone can be serious, contemplative and inspirational so that the reader is encouraged to reflect on their life while considering how SUNY Cortland will change and enhance it.

Tips for writing about the university are below, and editorial guidance can be found in the Writing Style Guide.

Brand pillars

What separates SUNY Cortland from the hundreds of colleges and universities in our region and the thousands of institutions across the country? What does SUNY Cortland do differently — and better — than all the rest of them? The answer to these critical questions can be found in our positioning.

Brand pillars

Our brand pillars define our competitive advantage through our three biggest strengths: what we believe in, what connects us to people and what we do better or differently than other institutions. 

With purpose (what we believe in)

At SUNY Cortland, success means doing things the right way and doing them well. We value teamwork — together taking pride in a problem solved, a job well done and a life made better.

MESSAGE THEMES: academic and athletic achievement, service, professional success

With ambition (what we do better or differently)

As a leader in New York state’s public university system, Cortland is a place where dedicated faculty members help students to pursue rigorous programs of study that integrate research, service and professional experience.

MESSAGE THEMES: science, business, education, outcomes, extracurricular opportunity

With spirit (what connects people to us)

There’s an energy on campus: the intellectual curiosity in academic buildings, the commitment to personal well-being in our state-of-the-art Student Life Center and the pride that students display at athletic events.

MESSAGE THEMES: hands-on discovery, student life, athletics experience, quality of facilities

Tagline usage

SUNY Cortland no longer has a tagline.

Taglines and slogan creation is strongly discouraged. In most cases, a strategic marketing approach will provide better results and more flexibility.

Exceptions may be made in the case of short-term campus-wide initiatives. These messages must be submitted to the Marketing Committee for approval and must include proposed text and/or graphic elements and a plan for distribution and expiration of the promotion. Each initiative must meet brand and editorial style guidelines and have a hard expiration date before being considered.

Please contact the Marketing Office at 607-753-2519 for consultation and guidance regarding tagline usage.