Minutes after posting yesterday about how Case Western Reserve’s name was "ridiculous", I received this email from a dear friend, the wife of a Witty Internist (WI):
>> Did you know that WI did his internship at Case Western? I’ve even
>> visited it with him, he loved it so much. It was the most memorable
>> learning experience in his amazing academic career (Williams, Mt.
>> Sinai, Case Western).
More memorable than Williams? I immediately responded that I would publish a retraction. Of course, I hadn’t said anything about the quality of education at Case, just that it had a dumb name. The Neurotic Parent position is that even if you can get over the miliary-sounding "reserve" part, there is nothing about Cleveland that is remotely western.
But it is west of Connecticut. According to Wikipedia, which I do not endorse for students (but I use often), the university was formed in 1967. The school is a federation of Case Institute of Technology, founded by philanthropist Leonard Case Jr., and Western Reserve University, originally the Western Reserve College, in the area that was once the Connecticut Western Reserve. (Back in the day when CT was 500 miles wide – Must be why there are now multiple Talbot stores in Cincinnati.)
Case does seem to be a wonderful school. U.S. News ranks its undergraduate program #1 in Ohio, #41 among national universities, #21 for its medical school and #7 for biomedical engineering programs. The Princeton Review is not so kind, however, naming it #19 for unhappiest students.
Clearly they’re unhappy about the name of their college.
Yes, the Wikipedia entry about Case has a prominent subheading about a "Naming Controversy". In 2003, it reports, the university unveiled a new logo that emphasized the "Case" portion of its name. Three years later a task force reported that the branding campaign had been a disaster. There were "serious concerns…about the university’s ability to recruit and maintain high-quality faculty, fund-raising and leadership." In 2007, the trustees approved going back to giving equal weight to "Case" and "Western Reserve". A new logo was chosen and the president, who resigned shortly thereafter, said that the no-nonsense "Case" did not "smell as sweet to many people" that "the university had misplaced its own history and traditions".
As a goodwill gesture, the Neurotic Parent Institute has just completed our own task force on the matter. After much analysis, our recommendation is that the university simply use its initials, CWRU (which are very collegiate sounding – almost like "crew"). Then it will not offend anyone because it will stand for nothing. And, as a bonus, it should attract more students from Eastern Europe and other regions with limited vowels.