Top of Mind

‘What's in a name?’

We officially became Nazareth University on June 1, 2023.

by Beth Paul

Jennifer Roush, Kyra Green, and Sabrina Bui

Jennifer Roush ’23, Kyra Green ’23, and Sabrina Bui ’23 celebrate at the 2023 Commencement Fair in April.

“What’s in a name?” Names are an age-old convention for representing identity, with meaning and connotation that can shift over time and place. What often matters most isn’t the name, but what the world thinks and feels when they hear that name. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” wrote Shakespeare, pushing past simple monikers to the intrinsic qualities of meaning and significance.

What we are as an institution — and what our alumni, students, faculty, and staff represent — remains unique and indisputable. Founded by changemakers to educate changemakers, Nazareth is endowed with cornerstone values that shine a guiding light on our present and future, including:

  • A comprehensive learning experience that prepares individuals for their life’s work, intertwining liberal arts and sciences with depth of learning in myriad disciplines, community engagement, and personal growth.
  • Experiential learning, working neighbor-to-neighbor to positively impact the needs of the time and develop graduates ready to spur that impact.
  • A caring, empathic, and courageous community that welcomes each individual; values their authenticity and well-being; and seeks dialogue, reflection, and growth.

Our mission to respond to society’s needs through academic innovation and community collaboration remains steadfast. We remain close partners with communities near and far, identifying paths for social progress and developing academic programs and experiential learning initiatives that support such progress and impact.

And because names are closely tied to the visual, we remain an image of purple and gold, infused throughout a beautiful campus that will always look and feel like home.

But names do matter. Names are words, and words are powerful.

So while Nazareth’s essence remains firm after nearly a century, our charge to prepare students for an ever-changing world has evolved. And our pending centennial prompts reflection on our founding identity and turns us to look to our next century in contemplation. How does our name convey the continuing value of our Changemaker Education for a thriving future?

Our name is the world’s window into who and what we are. The word Nazareth has rich, sacred meaning, symbolizing birth, community, growth through understanding, and the pursuit of peace. All still very accurate. As is the word university, Latin in origin, signifying a “community of teachers and scholars.” Throughout history, universities have elevated society through advanced learning in self-understanding, expression, and honorable living. Together, these words reflect Nazareth University’s commitment to the power and importance of gathering together, in community, to learn, reflect, and work for understanding and a better world.

Our mission of education for social progress drives our never-ending pursuit of academic programs and learning experiences to inspire Nazareth University changemakers locally and around the world. Our first degree programs were at the baccalaureate level. Thirty years later, master’s level programs were added, with a doctoral program sixty years later. On the curricular level, we have essentially been a university for decades. Now’s our time to communicate this with purpose and pride.

As we approach our centennial as Nazareth University, our enduring identity, values, and commitments continue to inspire us to be proactive in affecting progress. Just as we were founded in a time of dynamic social challenge and change, our new identity appropriately launches on the precipice of our second century and at a pivotal time in history. Nazareth University embodies the adage that change and challenge are inevitable, and that progress is a choice. We choose progress — for our learning community and for our world. Let’s continue to lead the way!

Beth Paul, Ph.D., is the president of Nazareth University.

ice hockey puck drop ceremony

Men's hockey celebrated 10 years in February. Inaugural team member Julius Tamasy ’15 joined President Beth Paul to drop the puck.