Stories about campus buildings named to honor prominent donors and former Carleton presidents are always swirling around, but what if this seemingly organized naming methodology is simply a façade? Read on to discover the less-than-impressive truth behind the names of the buildings in which we live and work:
The conversation on the Official Carleton Building-Naming Committee went something like this:
Committee Member (CM) #1: “So we’ve got this building. It needs a name.”
Committee Member (CM) #2: “Yup.” *sips coffee*
CM #1: “What even is this building anyway? It has some sort of little café, doesn’t it?”
CM #2: “Yup. And a bookstore.”
CM #1: “So basically it’s where we sell stuff to students.”
CM #2: “Yup.” Pause. “Let’s call it Sales.”
CM #1: “That seems a bit obvious.”
CM #2: “We’ll add an extra y.”
CM #1: “Done.”
Skinner Memorial Chapel:
It was originally proposed to be Sinner Memorial Chapel, but this was found to be a bit harsh. There weren’t any other ideas, though, so it was decided to amend it by throwing in a “k.”
Language and Dining Center:
LDC’s original name, still used in some contexts, was “East Dining Hall.” The Language Department, however, suffering from an inexplicable inferiority complex, soon demanded that the name be changed to emphasize that students come to this building for reasons other than food. Thus, the beautifully literal “Language and Dining Center” was proposed. The fact that it sounds like with LSD was an added bonus.
To this day, no one knows why students actually adopted the name “LDC” instead of saving themselves two syllables by continuing to say “East.” The amount of time wasted by pronouncing these extra syllables over the course of an average Carleton student’s career has been estimated at 15 hours, 37 minutes, and 13 seconds.
The Official Carleton Building-Naming Committee (remember them?) made the trek across the bridge to survey the newly completed dorm, hoping this would inspire them in their naming efforts.
Committee Member (CM) #1: “It’s a rather nice color. How would you describe it?”
Committee Member (CM) #2: “Ummm…beige?”
CM #1: “It’s not a perfect color, but I can confidently pronounce it to be above average. Indeed, it seems to be much better than okay, but it somehow falls short of being truly great. Let’s see, how to describe it…”
CM #2: “Good?”
And thus, Goodhue was born.
Although classified documents have not been released, it is believed that the Official Carleton Building-Naming Committee was infiltrated by a Norse mythology specialist from St. Olaf’s Nordic Studies department. Following in the tradition of Sayles and Skinner, an extra letter was added to throw people off the trail.
Funding for its neighboring dorm, “Sherlock,” unfortunately fell through.
Mud? Geology? Get it?
A moment of silence, please, to mourn the loss of one of Carleton’s worst puns.
It was the end of a long week for the Official Carleton Building-Naming Committee.
The next week was even longer.