Team Names Help Students Identify With Their Colleges

Ephs, Dutch, and Shockers are just a few historic team names that help define college identities.

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[Take a college road trip to New York.]

Eva Folkert is an East Coaster who wound up at a school that, at first glance, didn't seem like a logical fit to her. A born-and-raised New Yorker and a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, Folkert traveled to Holland, Mich., to attend Hope College, which was founded by the Dutch and is associated with the Reformed Church of America, a Protestant denomination. The Hope College men's athletic teams are the Flying Dutchmen, and its women's teams are the Flying Dutch.

Folkert, who didn't think much about the team name as an undergraduate in the early 80s, is currently the co-athletic director at Hope. Now, she says, the team name makes perfect sense.

"This is an institution that was started by Dutch immigrants. It was natural to call ourselves the Dutchmen, and eventually the Flying Dutch. And we've retained that because it's very much a part of our heritage.

"The immigrants, who came with nothing and started an educational institution so that the future generations could have something, were the grand vision of the American dream. That's what we're proud of," Folkert says.

And Cleary is proud too. As someone who wasn't even sure what his team name meant at first, he is now a senior who feels more a part of his Williams College because he's aware of the Ephs' roots.

"It's a big tradition, and although it's a name that could easily be made fun of by people who don't go to our school, it's something that you take to heart. You think, 'Well I'm part of this huge family as an Eph,' and you start to take a lot of pride in it," Cleary says.

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