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 traditional quality 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, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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  1. Clara
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      Clara is a strong, lovely girls' name that's always ranked among the US Top 1000 girl names but has been climbing since the turn of this century. It now ranks right around Number 100, making it a modern classic that's neither too popular nor unfamiliar.
  2. William
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  3. Rose
    • 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," and also Hros, "horse". In Old English it was translated as Roese and Rohese.
  4. Thomas
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "twin"
    • Description:

      A solid classic with plenty of history, Thomas strikes the balance between strength and gentleness. A favorite in the UK, a staple in France, and Australia, and never absent from the US Top 100, Thomas feels like a safe bet and a name that fits into any era.
  5. Nova
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "new"
    • Description:

      Nova has the feel of both newness, from its meaning, and great energy as an astronomical term for a star that increases suddenly in brightness before fading.
  6. Willa
    • 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.
  7. Wesley
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "western meadow"
    • Description:

      Reminiscent of the Old West, with rugged charm and a gentle, easy-going feel, Wesley has long been a staple on the US charts.
  8. Simon
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "he has heard; flat-nosed"
    • 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.
  9. Briar
    • 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.
  10. Rhodes
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "where roses grow"
    • Description:

      This is a name we've seen the potential of for some time now — A Greek island and a prestigious scholarship make for a preppy first name with the uber-stylish S ending. Needless to say we were not surprised that Rhodes cracked the Top 1000 in 2022, and we expect it to keep rising. Rhodes was recently chosen by actress Emma Roberts for her son, born in 2020.
  11. Calvin
    • 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.
  12. Harvey
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "battle worthy"
    • Description:



      Harvey, which was brought to England by the Normans and is a version of the French name Herve, is a genial, old-timey name that has been much more popular across the pond. It has been a Top 100 choice in England & Wales since 1997.
  13. Knox
    • 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 names list in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.
  14. Xavier
    • Origin:

      Basque
    • Meaning:

      "new house"
    • 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.
  15. Andrew
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "strong and manly"
    • Description:

      During its Top 10 heyday in the late 90s and early oughts, Andrew was one of the "cooler" classic boy names, an update on the old guard Roberts and Richards.
  16. Lincoln
    • 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.
  17. Cooper
    • 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.
  18. Emerson
    • Origin:

      English
    • 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.
  19. Lawrence
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from Laurentium or bay laurel"
    • 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.
  20. Mason
    • Origin:

      English occupational name
    • Meaning:

      "worker in stone"
    • Description:

      Mason is an occupational surname that ranked among the Top 10 name for boys throughout the 2010s, after its choice as one of the first Kardashian baby names.