What’s in a Name?

Recently I attended a memorial service celebrating the life of an administrator and long time friend at the university that I attended. He was very instrumental in my gaining entrance into the University of Redlands. The chapel was full with as many as 500 guests. Family members, friends and colleagues; one after another each extolled the virtues on his life. As I experienced the services, I was taken by how significant a name is, and what a name means. This occasion caused me to think about how I was perceived when my name was thought about, spoken or read.

What IS in a name? Well, there could be several issues and considerations involved in an attempt to answer this question. Among the several possibilities and reasons to apply to a name to something or somebody are impact, notoriety, description, character, significance, tradition, emotions and identification. From the initial naming of something or somebody, stems the association with that name. Branding, recognition, and reputation come to mind.

Names convey a great deal. Consider Coca Cola, IBM, Enron, Microsoft, Cadillac, K-Mart, Nordstrom’s, Mother Theresa, Adolph Hitler, Dad, Mom and the Society of Exchange Counselors. Just speaking or reading a name conjures up images of quality, inferiority, integrity, dishonesty, reliability, disloyalty, credibility, duplicity, sincerity, hypocrisy, cheating and honesty among others. For the reasons stated herein, it is therefore extremely important to examine our OWN name. What does it represent when someone thinks about, reads or speaks our name? What identifying characteristics come to their mind? What image(s) does it evoke?

It is with this backdrop that I wish to make several of my introductory remarks to the Observer this year. I will examine in some detail each word in our name in an attempt to define the Society of Exchange Counselors. Our name is distinctly linked to our individual and collective performances. I ask you to follow along with me in this endeavor and to lend your input.

Thank you. I look forward to a banner year for all of us.

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