John Calvin University

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What’s in a name? That which we call Calvin College, by any other name would be just as liberal-artsy and Reformed?

It’s uncertain whether the shift from a college structure to a university structure will just be a matter of semantics or whether it will fundamentally change Calvin’s identity. However, in the meantime, I’d like to send a suggestion to Calvin’s communications and marketing departments, before they start rolling out the new branding. Instead of dubbing the institution “Calvin University,” call it “John Calvin University.”

The idea isn’t mine. Professor Lew Klatt in the English department advocated for the switch in a recent Faculty Senate meeting, and I was won over as soon I heard the switch. The majority of people I’ve raised the topic with have agreed as well.

Calvin will be losing the pleasant alliteration of “Calvin College” in the coming transition. Additionally, the awkward backend addition of syllables in the name “Calvin University” leaves both prospective students and wealthy alumni less than satisfied.

“John Calvin University,” however, rolls off the tongue with ease. All eight syllables hold a comfortable cadence that leaves students and donors alike with empty pockets. Not only that, but it gives Calvin a level of prestige. It sounds like a school that turns away students and has a multi-million dollar endowment.

The name would also throw a bone to Calvin’s Reformed heritage. Although students may not be able to list just one of the five points of Calvinism after their four years here, they’ll at least know the first half of their alma mater’s namesake. Baby steps.

Not to mention, the acronym would best both that of Calvin College’s and of Calvin University’s. J.C.U. is the kind of acronym that sticks in your head and can be easily chanted at future football games (maybe?). There’s already a C.U. a couple miles down the East Beltline.

Most importantly, this switch would give the college an opportunity to drop that awful monstrosity that is the “Wayfinder” logo and stick with the heart-and-hand seal. Since its inception three years ago, the Wayfinder has done nothing but confuse students as to whether they’re attending Calvin College or DeVry University Online. The seal, however, especially with the Latin text around it, not only will set us apart from a cut-rate, for-profit vocational school but also will only increase our aura of prestige.

Lastly, picture the branding: vintage sweatshirts bearing “John Calvin University” wrapped around the old-school seal, glowing billboards with the catchy slogan “J.C.U.: meant for you,” and Fridays at Calvin handouts declaring the name with bold maroon and gold lettering.

John Calvin University simply sounds better than Calvin University. If we’re going to go through the bureaucratic overhaul that is the Vision 2030 process, we should at least do it right. Calvin communications and marketing departments, if it isn’t too late to make an appeal, tack “John” onto “Calvin University.”