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College Baby Names

College Baby Names
When you're on the prowl for the perfect name, anything can be an inspiration. Colleges around the country provide endless possibilities for noteworthy baby names. Princeton in particular has become a smash hit in recent years.

Along with Princeton, other college baby names in the US Top 1000 include Baylor, Duke, Emerson, Emory, Harvey, Howard, Lawrence, and Reed. Ivy League names, such as Yale, Columbia, Penn, and Cornell, carry an extra elite edge.

Some may consider college baby names a special subset of aspirational baby names, while others may choose to use them for their traditionality or in connection to one’s alma mater. Below, our full list of college baby names, each derived from the name of a college or university:

College Baby Names
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ThomasHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic
  • Meaning:

    "twin"
  • Description:

    Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.

RoseHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "rose, a flower"
  • Description:

    Rose is derived from the Latin rosa, which referred to the flower. There is also evidence to suggest it was a Norman variation of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis, meaning “famous type.” In Old English it was translated as Roese and Rohese.

XavierHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "new house or bright"
  • Description:

    Xavier originated is use as a given name after Saint Francis Xavier, cofounder of the Jesuit order, who got his name from the Spanish-Basque village where he was born. His birthplace was Javier, the name of which was derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria, meaning “castle” or “new house.” Many Americans pronounce the initial X, as in ex-ZAY-vee-er, but it's equally accepted to pronounce the name ZAY-vee-er, closer to the French pronunciation.

ClaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Long relegated to an Olde World backwater, the European-flavored Clara has been speeding up the charts on sleeker sister Claire's coattails for the past few decades. Now, many would say the vintage chic Clara is the more stylish of the two names. Actor Ewan McGregor was an early celebrity adopter of the name for one of his daughters.

NovaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "new"
  • Description:

    Nova is a name that has the feel of both newness, from his meaning, and great energy from being an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.
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WilliamHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    William is derived from the Germanic name Wilhelm, composed of the elements wil, “will,” and helm, referring to a helmet or protection. The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, with William being the Norman variation of the name. In Central and Southern France, it was translated as Guillaume.

WillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.

AndrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andrew is a variant of the Greek name Andreas, ultimately derived from the element aner, meaning “man.” In the New Testament, Andrew was one of the twelve apostles and the first disciple to be called by Jesus. Although the origins of the name are Greek, Andrew is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia, as well as Greece. It has associations with two of America's most famous artists, Wyeth and Warhol.

KnoxHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "round hill"
  • Description:

    Knox is an old Scottish surname that Brad Pitt (whose great-great-grandfather was named Hal Knox Hillhouse) and Angelina Jolie took out of the back cupboard, dusted off, and elevated to coolness--to the point where it entered the popular baby nameslist in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.

SimonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "the listener"
  • Description:

    Simon is pure and simple (not in the nursery rhyme sense), and an appealingly genuine Old and New Testament name that's not overused -- making Simon a stylish choice. In the Bible, Simon was the second son of Jacob and Leah and the original name of Saint Peter, as well as the name of several New Testament figures. Historically, Simon Bolivar is known as The Liberator of Latin America.
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WesleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "western meadow"
  • Description:

    Wesley is one of a group of W-starting surname names reminiscent of the Old West that are making a comeback -- though it's not as well used as it was in the 1970s, when he ranked as high as Number 66.

CalvinHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bald, hairless"
  • Description:

    Calvin is a slightly quirky but cozy name that has a fashion edge thanks to Calvin Klein. It has been steadily on the popularity list since records were kept, never lower than Number 250, peaking in the 1920s, the era of the Calvin (originally John Calvin ) Coolidge presidency.

RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan is the name of a tree with red berries that's commonly found in Scotland (and said to ward off witches). Some scholars say this name has been used for girls as well as boys since the Middle Ages, though no Rowans are found outside literature until modern times. It's also a genial Irish surname choice, especially for a redhead – girl or boy.

MadisonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Matthew"
  • Description:

    Madison originated as an English surname, a variant of Mathieson, meaning “son of Matthew.” It is occasionally translated as “son of Maud,” as Maddy was historically a nickname for Maud. It was introduced as a feminine given name in the 1984 movie Splash, in which the main character takes her name from New York’s Madison Avenue street sign.

EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    Emerson is a dignified, somewhat serious name associated with transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson. Much more popular now for girls since Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher used it for her daughter, it is definitely still a viable boys name.
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MasonHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "worker in stone"
  • Description:

    Mason has become mega-popular; it hit as high as the Number 2 spot in 2011 and has stayed near the top of the charts since.

HarveyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "battle worthy"
  • Description:

    Two of the worst events of 2017 involved the name Harvey, the storm and accused sexual harasser Weinstein. And that's not good for the baby name Harvey's future.

LewisHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Louis
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Lewis is the best spelling to choose if you want this pronounced with the S. Lewis has been in the Top 5 in Scotland since 2000, and is one that parents in the U.S. are just beginning to rethink.

BriarHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a thorny patch"
  • Description:

    Fairy-tale memories of Sleeping Beauty inspire some parents—such as Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen—to call their daughters Briar Rose. But Briar plus a different middle name might work even better. It's one of the newly popular nature-word names, charting in the US for the first time in 2015 for both genders.

CooperHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "barrel maker"
  • Description:

    The genial yet upscale and preppy Cooper was one of the first occupational last names to catch on -- and Cooper remains a pleasing option.
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MaryHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).

RhodesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "where roses grow"
  • Description:

    A Greek island and a prestigious scholarship make an upper-crusty first name.

LincolnHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "town by the pool"
  • Description:

    Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.

AlfredHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "wise counselor"
  • Description:

    Alfred is up off his recliner! If you're looking for a path to Fred, you can go directly to Frederick or take the long way around with the so-out-it's-in-again Alfred. Alfred is quite popular in several European countries, especially England and Wales, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

SarahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "princess"
  • Description:

    Sarah was derived from the Hebrew word sarah, meaning “princess.” Sarah is an Old Testament name—she was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. According to the Book of Genesis, Sarah was originally called Sarai, but had her name changed by God to the more auspicious Sarah when she was ninety years old.
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LawrenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from Laurentium"
  • Description:

    Lawrence has survived from Roman times, when Laurentium was a city noted for its laurel trees (the laurel is a symbol of wisdom and achievement). It was in the Top 50 from the 1890s through the 1950s and the Top 100 for decades longer, always among the most popular boys' names starting with L, but Lawrence is now used less for babies than Landon or Lorenzo. Nickname Lauro perks it up while Larry feels terminally dated. The Laurence spelling was popularized by Sir Laurence Olivier and is also attached to fellow actor Laurence Fishburne.

SavannahHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "flat tropical grassland"
  • Description:

    A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.

ForestHeart

  • Origin:

    French occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "woodsman or woods"
  • Description:

    The Forest variation of Forrest, used by actor Whitaker, nudges the meaning more toward the woods and away from the woodsman.

HopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Can a name as virtuous as Hope be cool and trendy? Strangely enough -- yes. But though this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it's getting.

ReedHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "red-haired"
  • Description:

    A slim, elegant, silvery surname, Reed could be a banker or a sculptor, and therein lies the appeal of this simple yet distinctive name. The versatile Reed can be seen as a grass-like nature name and a musical name.
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HendrixHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.

ClarkHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
  • Description:

    Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.

TaylorHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "tailor"
  • Description:

    Taylor is one of the prime unisex surnames used for girls and has also been a soap opera favorite. Taylor was in the Top 10 for the last several years of the twentieth century, so that now it tends to feel a little nineties – though Taylor Swift is keeping it in the spotlight and Tay is a charming nickname. Garth Brooks and Bryan Cranston have daughters named Taylor; Taylor Schilling portrays lead Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Black.

TroyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of foot soldier"
  • Description:

    Troy shot to popularity as a first name in tandem with that of 1960s heartthrob Troy (born Merle) Donahue; its image has now, thanks in part to the Brad Pitt-starring epic, Troy, receded back to conjuring up the ancient site of the Trojan wars.

MckennaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the handsome one"
  • Description:

    Mackenzie begat McKenna -- a catchy but very trendy choice. While the Mc or Mac prefix means "son of," this is exclusively a girl's names in the US, with no boys recorded with either spelling of the name.
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FranklinHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "free landholder"
  • Description:

    A doubly Presidential name, via Pierce and Roosevelt, Franklin was given an initial boost via the fame of Benjamin Franklin. It also has a literary tie to the main character of the Wilkie Collins classic The Moonstone.

LutherHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "army people"
  • Description:

    Once restricted to evangelical Protestants honoring the ecclesiastical reformer and theologian Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant revolution. In more recent times it has been favored by parents wishing to honor civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. Luther was a Top 100 name at the turn of the last century, but fell off the list in the early 1990s.
    Luther Burbank was an eminent botanist and Luther Vandross was a popular R&B artist. It's the name of a main character on the Disney series Zeke and Luther. The name was given a shot of contemporary energy via Idris Elba's dynamic performance in the eponymous BBC crime drama.

BrynHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "hill"
  • Description:

    Bryn is an up-and-coming gentle, yet substantial, Welsh name that would also be effective in the middle spot. In Wales it's a traditional boys' name, but it's far more popular for girls now in the US.

MarshallHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "one who looks after horses"
  • Description:

    Marshall is an occupational surname, not having to do with anything military or martial, but stemming from the Norman French for someone caring for horses. It's been used as a first name since the nineteenth century and has been on the Social Security list since it started to publish its data in 1880.

GordonHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "great hill"
  • Description:

    As this long-term Age of Jordans, both male and female, begins to wind down, the neglected Scottish favorite Gordon, with its more distinguished history, could come back as a distinctive alternative. Gordon is one of the most classic authentically Scottish names for boys.
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DrakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "dragon; or, male duck"
  • Description:

    A simple one-syllable name that has been on the popularity list since the mid-1980s, Drake is most associated today with the single-named rapper (born Aubrey). The name peaked at Number 197 in 2010 and has since been on a slow decline, but it still can be counted among the stylish contemporary boy names starting with D.

EmoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Emery
  • Description:

    Less popular than Emery, this name also attributes to Emory University. Both spellings of the name lean more heavily to the girls' side, but this one is not quite as unbalanced.

BentleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "meadow with coarse grass"
  • Description:

    Bentley, a somewhat stuffy British surname, previously associated primarily with an incredibly expensive English car, has had a recent surge in popularity, thanks largely to the reality TV shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, with Bentley being the name of the son of breakout star Maci (another new favorite) Bookout.

ValenciaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "brave, strong"
  • Description:

    This lovely orange-scented Spanish place-name would make an inventive namesake for an Aunt Valerie.

AugustaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Augustus
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    Augusta is a dignified name reminiscent of wealthy great-aunts, but with the fashion for both August and Gus for boys, Augusta could get some fresh energy.
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ElonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "oak tree"
  • Description:

    The boys' name Elon is best known today as the name of Elon Musk, eccentric billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX. With Canadian singer Grimes, Elon Musk has a son with an even more unusual name, X Æ A-12.

FerrisHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rock"
  • Description:

    Though the cinematic Ferris Bueller was twenty years ago, the time for this name may be now.

TrinityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "triad"
  • Description:

    Trinity bounded up the charts after the release of The Matrix, whose heroine was named Trinity. Country singer Trace Adkins used it for his daughter.

PennHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "enclosure"
  • Description:

    This simple, elegant name offers something for many kinds of parents, from writers and history buffs to photographers to Pennsylvania dwellers. Most famous bearers are comedian Penn Jillette and Gossip Girl hottie Penn Badgley, both of whom were given this distinctive name at birth. Long obscure, Penn seems destined for greater usage.

HowardHeart

  • Origin:

    German or English
  • Meaning:

    "high guardian or brave heart"
  • Description:

    Howard, once hugely popular -- in the Top 50 from the 1870s to early 1950s, hitting Number 24 in 1920 -- has been stuck in Dad-Grandad limbo for decades, but is showing some signs of stirring back to life. Along with such formerly-fusty names as George and Harold, Howard may soon feel baby-appropriate, perhaps with the short form Ward.
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