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The college started thinking about a change in 1998, when educators visiting the college for its periodic accreditation renewal suggested it should seek university status because of its growing graduate programs. The idea appealed to Landman, who said the college designation was a handicap to Beaver's efforts at expanding its already robust overseas connections to universities in China, Korea and elsewhere. Not only was it hard for Beaver to secure agreements for its own students to study abroad, it was difficult for Beaver to attract foreign exchange students because college generally means high school or trade school abroad. Landman said that if Beaver were going to change to a university, it might also be an appropriate time to change the Beaver as well, because the old name had come to be something of a burden. In a letter to alumni and parents in February, Landman wrote that "the word 'beaver' too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the TV show 'Leave it to Beaver,' and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy." Worse, the college's marketing research had found that the school appealed to 30 percent fewer prospective students solely because of the name. In addition, Beaver officials found that some computer filters that parents and libraries install to block access to pornographic Internet sites are preventing prospective students from accessing Beaver College information online. The college's outreach to alumni, faculty, parents, students and neighbors elicited more than 300 suggestions for a new name. The suggestions came from everywhere. "One day I was in the 7-Eleven, and a man came up to me who recognized me and said, 'Did you get the name suggestion I sent you in the mail?' " Landman said, laughing. "He had no connection with the school other than that he lived nearby." But early on, the committee charged with discussing names came up with Arcadia, as a way to imply the college's commitment to close student- faculty interaction, its broader reach as a school with graduate programs, and its strong international program. The word generated high marks among high school students and their parents in focus groups held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Actually, the school was established in 1856 in the borough of Beaver PA (named for a Governor of PA), out near Pittsburgh and was called the "Beaver Female Seminary"; over the years, it became co-ed, and was chartered as a college by the Commonwealth of PA. It moved across the state in 1907, first to Jenkintown, and then to Glenside in the 1920s. It went back to being an all-girls school at that time and did not become coed until the 70s.

Someone told me that the term "beaver" was actually connected with the original school (some guy who tried to score with one of the students, I guess), but I don't know for sure.

And to answer Dr. Bear's query, their sports team is called the "Scarlet Knights" (they stole it from Rutgers, for some reason). When friends and relatives come in from CA, they always go to the campus store for t-shirts, etc. to take back and show everyone, in return we get UC-Santa Cruz slug shirts.

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