As States Ban “DEI”, Universities are Rebranding

“Equity, diversity, inclusion” (Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, CC-BY-SA2.0)

According to a report in The New York Times, universities are facing a challenge as local and state governments begin to ban Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives across America. To solve this problem, some universities are turning to “rebranding”: the University of Tennessee, for example, rebranded its DEI program as the “Division of Access and Engagement”. For more details, check out the article over at The New York Times.

The Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin is Now Available!

Click here to download the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin.

In this issue, you will find:

  • The 2023 Names of the Year
  • ANS Has a New VP!
  • ANS Bylaws Revisions
  • And the Winner is… 2023 NAMES Best Article of the Year Award
  • An Interview with the Winner of the 2023 Best Article of the Year Award
  • Names: A Journal of Onomastics Reviewers Needed
  • Call for Proposals: High Desert Linguistics Society Conference
  • In Memoriam: Honoring the Legacy of ANS Members
  • ANS Executive Council 2023 End-of-Year Reports
  • 2024 ANS Executive Council

Read more in the Spring 2024 ANS Bulletin!

Report: Personal Names and Discrimination Study Results

National Bureau of Economic Research (Photo: Public Domain)

Reported by The New York Times, a National Bureau of Economic Research study of personal names revealed discrimination amongst job applicants: “On average, they found, employers contacted the presumed white applicants 9.5 percent more often than the presumed Black applicants.” “Distinctively white names” (such as “Todd” and “Allison”) and “distinctively black names” (such as “Lakisha” and “Leroy”) included names commonly-used by families of each racial background. The study found that two companies had the largest racial gap amongst their applicants and fourteen companies had the smallest racial gap amongst their applicants. Read the full study from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the report from The New York Times.

ANS 2024 Conference YouTube Videos

We are pleased to announce that all recorded presentations from the 2024 Annual meeting have now been uploaded to our YouTube channel. There are 14 videos, representing outstanding onomastics scholarship from members all over the world. Please visit our YouTube channel to view these videos, as well as those from the previous Annual Conferences!

National Sciences Academy: Request to Remove “Sackler” Name from Endowment

National Academy of Sciences Building (Photo by Another Believer, CC-BY-SA3.0)

As reported in the New York Times and The Philanthropy News Digest, the National Sciences Academy has requested of a court to repurpose and rename an endowment of over $30 million given by the Sackler family. The Sackler family is best known for its association with Purdue Pharma, producers of OxyContin. OxyContin and other opiates are thought to have contributed to the opioid crisis currently facing families across America. Read more in the New York Times or The Philanthropy News Digest.

About Names: Dr. Evans on the name “Russell”

Bertrand Russell (Photo by Bassano 1936, Public Domain)

Bertrand Russell (Photo by Bassano 1936, Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 7th column, he discusses the name “Russell”.

Maximus, John Nash, Jor-El and Noah all turn 60 today.

Actor Russell Crowe, born in New Zealand April 7, 1964, won an Oscar playing Maximus in “Gladiator” (2000). He was Nash in “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), Superman’s dad in “Man of Steel” (2013) and the ark-builder in “Noah” (2014).

Russell’s an English surname derived from Norman French Rousel, a nickname for a redhead. There were 221,558 Americans with Russell as a last name in 2010, ranking it 104th.

When using surnames as first names became common after 1700, Russell was one of the first to turn up. It was the surname of two noble families in England. John Russell (1795-1883), a fox-hunting vicar who first bred Jack Russell terriers, descended from the less prominent Devonshire Russells.

More famous was John Russell of Dorset (1485-1555), who King Edward VII made Earl of Bedford in 1551. But it was his three-greats-grandson, Lord William Russell (1639-1683), who was most responsible for turning Russell into a common given name.

Lord William, younger son of the fifth Earl of Bedford, was accused of participating in the “Rye House Plot” to kill King Charles II and his brother James. Though Russell wanted Catholic James barred from inheriting the throne, he denied planning to kill the king. After Russell was beheaded, he became a martyr to the Whigs in Parliament, who believed his trial was unjust.

In the next century, America’s revolutionaries used Russell as an example of the tyranny of British kings. Both John and Samuel Adams called him a martyr for liberty. American patriots named sons Russell in his honor.

An image of character Mona and her dog Russell on the popular Canadian Children’s Show “nanalan'” (Photo fair use)

Britain’s 1851 census found 449 men with Russell as a first name. In the 1850 United States census, when the two countries had about the same population, there were 3,519.

In 1880, when Social Security’s baby name lists start, Russell ranked 197th. It boomed over the next three decades, peaking at 49th in 1914 when 0.376% of boys received it.

Russell plateaued at around 65th until it suddenly jumped to 52nd in 1956, when 0.345% of newborns were Russells. This may be partly because of the career of basketball great Bill Russell (1934-2022). Probably more important was television sitcom “Make Room For Daddy” (1953-1964, later retitled “The Danny Thomas Show”), where Russell “Rusty” Hamer (1947-1990) played Danny Thomas’ young son Rusty. Famous cute kids often popularize baby names.