Friday, April 8, 2016

College Names

Hello, readers!

When you are just so gosh darn proud of your alma mater, how do you express your school spirit? By naming your child after your college, of course!

Some of theses names were undoubtedly chosen because of their sound, or just because they were liked - not all of them relate to the particular alma maters of parents. But naming your child something collegiate could associate them with higher education early on - no word yet on whether being named Harvard increases your likelihood of studying there. 

Here are the numbers for 2014!

Berkeley (my alma mater) - 85 girls, 14 boys
Meaning "where birches grow", the name is now associated with the number one public university in the world (can you tell I'm spirited?) and its tumultuous history. It definitely fits in with the -ley trend - Hailey, Paisley, Riley - but there's more than a little pride attached. 

Harvard - 6 boys
Probably the most "pretentious" of the college names out there, but it's been in use for a lot of history. It's only really come back in recent years after petering out through the late 1960's - early 2000's.

Stanford - 20 boys
While this name was fairly well-used in the 1950's, it's now on the decline. The two elements "Stan" and "-ford" are less used now, so putting them together makes for a dated name. 

Cornell - 45 boys
This name actually ranked fairly high in the mid-century, and isn't only associated with the university - a few famous Cornell's in history provide excellent opportunities for homage. Cornell also comes from Latin for "crow". 

Princeton - 535 boys
Incredibly popular, Princeton currently ranks at #517 in the United States. With names like Kingsley, Reign, and Messiah on the rise, perhaps it's not so much about the school as it is about the royal vibe.

Yale - 6 boys
I'm more than a little surprised by this name choice - sure, it sounds a bit like Dale or Cale, but I can't get past the Ivy League connotation.

Emory - 373 girls, 252 boys
Meaning "brave" or "industrious", Emory is one of those rare fantastic unisex names that fits in but isn't overused or boring. The university in Georgia is one of the oldest in the nation, adding a classic air to the name's lovely style.

Duke - 382 boys
Another title of nobility making its way into the name realm, Duke is #666 on the name charts (a little spooky, but what can you Duke?) Like some other collegiate names, Duke has so many connections that it won't be too recognizable as a university.

I'll stop with these eight names, but tell me in the comments if I've missed anything glaring! Do you know anyone who's honored their alma mater this way? Any funny stories about little Berkeley applying to Berkeley?


  1. At least some Madison's are named after my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison!

  2. I wasn't named after it, but I did apply (and go) to Clare College mainly because of my name!