John Wesley to Laurel

Names change and school names change, too. And they do this to reflect the mission of the school at times. But try as I may, the implication of “Laurel” eludes me. Anyone know?

John Wesley College is currently undergoing its 5th name change since its inception in 1903.

The school, now to be known as Laurel University, has undergone each name change with intentions to “more clearly communicate its mission and focus,” said a spokesperson in a news release. The college’s board of trustees just recently agreed to the name change….

“With the new name choice, the school re-affirms its strong commitment to our interdenominational Christian heritage and mission. We want a name that speaks of a future, a new horizon, that communicates energy and progress with simplicity,” states McCullough. “In addition, our new name needed to be understood internationally. Around the world, the word ‘college’ often designates a K-12 program, not a higher education institution. We desire to clearly indicate our university status, especially now that we offer multiple graduate degrees.”

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  • I’ve been to John Wesley College (formerly). The laurel represents “a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction.” Whether that clarifies or not I do not know.

  • rjs

    “University” = grade inflation for institutions…

  • Laurel was the Apostle Paul’s little-known younger sister.

  • Gloria

    I think Laurel might be the name of one of Jesus’ sisters.

  • Jared

    In their description it sounds like they’re more concerned with what “University” communicates over “College” than “Laurel” vs. “John Wesley”. Also, since the goal is to be interdenominational I suppose “John Wesley” may seem too…denominational. That combined with Allan’s comment about the general significance of laurels (#1), I suppose it makes sense. Although it no longer sounds like a specifically Christian school name. Maybe they liked that, too.

  • Pat Pope

    Hmmmm…we have a Laurel School here in Cleveland, but it’s an all-girls private school. Their website says the school “acquired its name – first Laurel Institute, then later Laurel School – because of the ancient Greek symbol of a wreath of laurel leaves, which signified intellectual achievement.”

  • Watchman

    A Methodist university renaming itself after someone from a comedic duet is a bit ironic. Next, it will become Moe University?

  • Karl

    I wonder if Laurel refers to Mountain Laurel, a common flowering plant in the NC mountains.

  • Ethan Magness

    Karl beat me to it. I’m sure that’s it.

  • James Petticrew

    The marketing man that has come up with the idea that “Laurel” communicates the values of academic excellence and Christian heritage and mission internationally better than “John Wesley” Needs two things, a biography of Wesley and a new career.

  • Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is:

    Find out the meaning of the phrase “to rest on one’s laurels”…