Every idea needs a symbol, every movement needs a name and every team needs a moniker. History has provided some great examples: the New York Yankees, the Navy Midshipmen, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. A close look at any of these reveal several components of a good nickname. All have originality, the ability to represent a holistic group of people, the capacity to strike terror into the hearts of opponents and, perhaps most importantly, highlight some shared feature of the people they represent. And yet famous examples of terrible nicknames also abound, such as the Montreal Canadiens, the Cleveland Browns or the Boston Red Sox. With the debate over Kenyon’s new moniker heating up, three seniors chipped in with their ideas for the best and worst nicknames Kenyon could hypothetically adopt. And though few people liked my suggestion that we be renamed the Kenyon KN95s, Kenyon students offered good insights for where the school should go.
Yet even the idea of changing Kenyon’s monikers has created some dissent on campus. “I was just hearing about this during AT last night,” Rebecca Turner ’22 said. “It was a weird experience because they were all on a sports team and I’m not, and they all agreed to keep the name, or just to keep it the Kenyon Lords.”
Despite some support, much of the student body remains disenchanted with the current name. “A good moniker is going to be one that encapsulates the spirit of the college and the student body, but in a Kenyon-specific way,” Ellen Burbank ’22 said. While the Lords and Ladies monikers have stood for a while, it may no longer fit this bill. “Personally I think this would mean that we choose something a little more weird, more Kenyon-y, a little grimey, something fun,” Burbank said.
What, then, might Kenyon adopt as its new mascot? Students suggested a broad range of new ideas. Searching for something uniquely Kenyon, Burbank initially suggested a cat-related nickname. “The Kenyon Feral Cats, or the Kenyon Street Cats. There are so many around campus,” she said.
Jack Seasholtz ’22 suggested names along similar lines. “I think it should be an animal,” he said. “A bear would be cool, or a snake. Something fierce.” However fierce, Seasholtz shied away from choosing a terrifying new moniker. “It should be nice,” he said. Taking a pragmatic approach, he added, “They could sell plush animals, something they could make a lot of money out of. Keep tuition down.”
Students also figured that Kenyon may want to adopt a moniker that is more relevant to the Kenyon experience today. “Maybe we should do something completely modern, like the Kenyon Coronaviruses,” Turner said. Burbank made similar, topical suggestions. Asked for a moniker relevant to Kenyon today, Burbank suggested “the Kenyon Extra Long Q-tips, or the Kenyon DNA Spit Tube Tests.” Other names pertinent to a modern Kenyon were also popular. “The Kenyon Administrators,” was one suggestion of Burbank’s. “Yay, go Administrators!” she said, illustrating how well this new name might roll off the tongue.
Regardless of what avenue Kenyon decides to take, students were clear to point out certain names the school should avoid. “No large animal could represent Kenyon,” Burbank said. “So they shouldn’t go the route of lions or panthers. Kenyon’s not a basic place.” Some Kenyon students found other names equally disagreeable. When asked what the worst moniker Kenyon might choose would be, Seasholtz answered promptly: “The Lords and Ladies would be pretty lame.”