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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MSU Baby Names

*Update: Joe's cousin just welcomed a gorgeous little baby girl with an adorable MSU name: Breslyn.  Go Green!*

I tried to write another article for Nameberry but they rejected it (*hangs head*).  I wrote it because I got really excited about MSU-inspired names while we were at the (cough! cough!) ROSE BOWL, in ROW SEVENTEEN, watching one of the most exciting sporting events I've ever seen.  In case you didn't hear, somehow we won.  Must've been all the team spirit demonstrated by the fans, methinks.

Amazing seats courtesy of Chuck and Kay; amazing weather courtesy of Pasadena.
Anyway, here's the article.

Spartan Spirit!  Notable MSU Names

Michigan State University beat Stanford in a 24-20 nail-biter at the 2014 Rose Bowl.  In honor of this spectacular upset, here are some wearable, MSU-inspired names for little Spartan fans.

Malcolm (G. Malcolm Trout):  George Malcolm Trout was a renowned dairy researcher, emulsion chemistry expert, and developer of the process by which milk is homogenized.  He was a food science professor at Michigan State for half a century.  Could his last name, Trout, be worn on a boy, as could Bear, Fox, or Wolf?

Izzo (Tom Izzo):   Well-beloved basketball coach who has led the Spartans to six Final Four appearances and 16 consecutive runs in the NCAA Tournament.  Mateen Cleaves, Plaxico Burress and Earvin “Magic” Johnson are other high-achieving Spartan men’s athletics names.  Speaking of sports leadership, on the heels of Finn and Flynn could be the last names of venerated former athletic director and football coach Clarence Lester “Biggie” Munn and Olympic sprinter Savatheda Fynes

Willie (Willie Laurence Thrower): The first black quarterback to play in the Big Ten, Willie Thrower was said to be capable of hurling the ball over a distance of 60 years.  His skills were instrumental to the 1952 national championship win for the Spartans.  Although Connor Cook and Mark Dantonio were the major names of the 100th Rose Bowl Game, maybe the nickname name Willie will catch on in the U.S. as well as Freddie and Alfie have in the U.K.

Brody, Wilson, and Mason are dorm-inspired names that enjoy a healthy popularity outside of the MSU crowd.  The enormous Brody Neighborhood consists mostly of freshman living quarters, but on the upside, it is close to the iconic Red Cedar RiverRed, Cedar, and River would be much better names for contraband guinea pigs smuggled into a Brody Complex room than for triplet boys, though.

Vim: In the fight song refrain “Spartan teams are bound to win/ we’re fighting with a VIM (Rah! Rah! Rah!)”, there is a word of relatively recent (1843) origin.  According to Mirriam-Webster online, vim is “robust energy and enthusiasm”.  These days, it seems to have little usage outside of lyrics and poetry (as in Dr. Seuss’ “vigor and vim” in Horton Hears a Who), but vitality is an attribute that is hoped for by many parents.  See also: Johnny Spirit (a.k.a, John Sheldon), legendary body paint enthusiast and die-hard MSU sports attendee who has embodied superfandom since 1993; Eli Broad, cum laude graduate, billionaire, and arts philanthropist.


Linden: A tree, a famous East Lansing street near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Grand River, and an excellent place to party.  If you adore your Aunt Linda who went to Michigan State (I do!), consider naming your little girl Linden and calling her Lindy for short.

Maude Gilchrist, Elida Yakeley, and Mary Anne Mayo are three important women in early MSU history for whom the West Circle residence halls are named.  (Elida may be a variant of Elidi, which is thought to be related to the Ilida Valley in Greece.)  Accomplished female graduates also include HGTV and Food Network founder Susan Packard (’79, ‘81), an advocate for women in business, and Julie Aigner-Clark (‘88), 2009’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Lou Anna (Lou Anna Simon):  This sweet double-barreled name consists of the cute Lou paired with the evergreen charmer Anna, and President Lou Anna Kimsey Simon has been a boon to the university with her aggressive support for research in the sciences.  (Full disclosure: Dr. Simon is my distant relative.)  Names with a farm and country feel, like Lilah Mae and Lulah Mae, are all the rage for baby girls in mid-Michigan right now (at least among my large extended family and that of my husband).  Another name with notable family ties is Clara Bell Smith, late mother of NBA player and former Michigan State All-American Steve Smith; the Student Athlete Support Services center (Clara Bell Smith Center) was named in her honor.  Perhaps Clara Bell or Lou Anna will inspire the names of the next generation of women in the MSU family. 

Hannah (John Alfred Hannah): An administrator and longest-serving president of the university, Hannah is largely responsible for having brought MSU into the research age.  He also served as president of the USAID and as an administrator of the UN World Food Council.

Aggie: Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded in 1855 as the first land grant university in the United States.  Owing to the school’s agricultural science roots, “Aggies” (farmers) was its original nickname.  This evolved to “The Michigan Staters”, and ultimately, the Spartans, after the school transitioned from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) to the names of Michigan State College and Michigan State University, respectively.  Texas A&M, Utah State, and New Mexico State currently share the Aggies nickname.  Aggie is decidedly girly, but the retro Mac might make an adorable unisex nickname for a baby born into a family with an affection for East Lansing.

Me, Joe, and James, at the alumni meet in 2004.

Zach, rooting for the home team in 2014.


Laurel B. Miller said...

Yes, I know some of these names are un poco ridiculo. For example, Trout Winslet just doesn't have the same ring to it as Bear. But what can I say? I gave it my best effort.

Unknown said...

I can't believe they'd reject this. These are gold.

Did you see Johnny Spirit at the game? We saw him riding his bike around saying, Johnny needs one.... (aka ticket) but later, there he was in the stands, rallying the troops as he does. We heard he got arrested because he went on the field post-post - game and they didn't think he had a field pass but apparently he did and was eventually let go. How could he have a field pass but no ticket to the game? Silly Johnny Spirit.

Go green!!

Unknown said...

Also, your seats were MUCH better than ours. Very jealous :)

Laurel B. Miller said...

Yes, I totally saw Johnny Spirit at the game, doing his schtick down by the field (dangerously close to all those security people lining the grass). Then the next day I think I read that they arrested him. I guess people were chanting, "Let him go!" or something. Uhhh, you are supposed to have a pass to be anywhere near the field, dude. There is no way he wasn't going to try to rush the field. Probably wearing body paint only.