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01 December, 2007
College MottosI came across this article by Thomas Bartlett for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Its title "Your (Lame) Slogan Here" was apt because boy, there are some really lame school mottos out there.
There's Dartmouth College's biblical yet too theatrical "The Voice of One Crying Out in the Wilderness" that makes me think of much weeping and gnashing of teeth. How about Stanford University's "The Wind of Freedom Blows", which really, er, blows. Then there's Cornell University's "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study".
Even the marginally better ones make me cringe, like Seton Hall University's "Whatever risk, Yet Go Forward" and Carnegie Mellon's "My Heart Is in the Work" that for some reason got me thinking of Groove is in the Heart by Dee Lite, which is now annoyingly stuck in my head even though it's a lot better than the slogan. Perhaps the song title should be their slogan?
Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm crazy about my alma mater's motto, "Religio Mores Cultura, Christian Achievers for God and Country", which sounds like something that God Warrior Lady from Trading Spouses would dream up.
Too bad Swarthmore College's "Guilt Without Sex" and Chicago U's "The University of Chicago: Where Fun Goes to Die" are strictly unofficial.
What's the point of university mottos, anyway? Apparently it's for branding purposes, to romanticize the university in your mind and make your chest swell with pride for having spent your money or your parents' money going there.
I see that working in the case of Yale University's "Lux Et Veritas" (Light and Truth) or the University of California's "Fiat Lux" (Let There Be Light), but unless institutions of higher learning can come up with something just as classy yet cool, they might as well forget it.
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