WTF Fun Facts 13174 – Beaver College Name Change

In 2001, Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia College because it found the original name appealed to 30% fewer prospective students. But the Beaver College name change was also the result of the rise of search engines. Web filters intended to screen out explicit material blocked access to their website, categorizing it as pornographic.

The Beaver College name change

In 2000, Beaver College threw a pajama party for students and used the occasion to announce that the school’s name would be changed the following year. The new name – Arcadia University.

The small women’s college was founded in 1853 in western Pennsylvania’s Beaver County. However, it moved outside of Philadelphia in 1925. So the name was no longer accurate. However, that’s not the real reason behind the Beaver College name change.

According to ABC News (cited below), then-President Bette E. Landman said in a letter that the old name “too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the TV show Leave It to Beaver and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy.”

Honestly, we doubt Leave it to Beaver jokes were the real motivator there.

There were two significant problems with the name. First, “The college’s own research shows the school appeals to 30 percent fewer prospective students solely because of the name,” according to ABC News. “And the problems worsened with the rise of the Internet, since some Web filters intended to screen out sexually explicit material blocked access to the Beaver College Web site.”

What’s in a name?

The small school sent out surveys about the name change to 20,000 alums, students, parents, faculty, and staff in the hopes of finding a new name (after they had narrowed it down to six choices).

College spokesman Bill Avington said at the time that Arcadia “seems to be a perfect name,” harkening back to a region of ancient Greece known for its centers of learning.

And they did their research before making the final decision, ensuring there were no dirty jokes to be made. Avington said: “We tried to go through every scenario. We’ve looked pretty carefully at it.”

Beaver College’s name change became official on July 16, 2001.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Beaver College Announces New Name” — ABC News

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