Benjamin H. Alexander, newly installed president of the University of the District of Columbia, said yesterday that his top priorities include improving the school's image and working for a new downtown campus.

The former president of Chicago State University said that he was chagrined when someone told him recently that UDC stood for "university for dumb children."

Alexander pledged to disprove that notion by spreading the story of the school's assets and of the accomplishments of its staff and students.

"I have come to a university that has already outgrown itself," Alexander said. For years the university has been fighting Congress and the city for funds to build a campus downtown in the area around New York Avenue and H Street NW in anticipation of growth of a student body that already numbers about 14,000.

Shortly after Alexander was chosen as UDC's new president, 40 faculty members and five board members filed suits contending that the board's selection process was improper. The faculty suit was dismissed in April, and last month D.C Superior Court Judge Ronald P. Wertheim refused to issue a restraining order sought by the five board members that would have delayed Alexander's assumption of the presidency.