That’s my name, wanna make somethin’ of it?

Courtney Cook

Show your name is more than just an initial today on Middle Name Pride Day

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” and most would agree, not a lot.

Richard Nixon still got elected president with the middle name Milhous. Drew Carey still rocks Cleveland with a feminine Allison for his second name. And Barack Hussein Obama is probably hoping not to be affiliated with the late Saddam.

Today is Middle Name Pride Day – not a nationally recognized holiday, but one that should be celebrated nonetheless.

Whether it’s to set one apart from other people, honor a relative or family member, or Mom middle-naming to show that she means business, middle names play a role in the identity of a person.

Many parents find middle names for their children from relatives’ names or use their own names. Often, parents choose a name simply because it sounds good.

That’s exactly how Carissa Chilelli, freshman paralegal studies major, said she got her middle name.

“My first name was pulled out of a baby book,” she said, “and I think they added Lynn to it because it sounds nice.”

Chilelli said she has noticed the popularity of her common middle name, but she prefers not to be called by it. She said a few family members call her by both her first and middle name.

Norah Burch, former Harvard administrator and author of the Web site, said many middle names are common because of the rhythm. She said most first and last names are two syllables, with the accent on the first syllable. Names with the same stressed syllables tend to sound sing-songy, she said.

Burch conducted a study that concluded John, Michael and James are the most popular middle names chosen for boys.

Marie, Elizabeth and Ann are the most popular middle names selected for girls, according to Burch’s study.

“I have two middle names,” said junior English major Elizabeth Marie Vild, referring to her first name also being a popular middle name.

Vild goes by Beth and said she wouldn’t change her middle name because it’s not really a big deal to her.

“It’s a Catholic thing,” she said of her first name being Elizabeth. “I got it from my mom’s side of the family.”

Ashley Boyko, sophomore fashion merchandise major, said she realized the popularity of her middle name when she was younger.

“I had four best friends on my street, and all of our middle names were Elizabeth,” she said.

Burch said 64 percent of boys’ common middle names are also often used for first names, while only 25 percent of common girls’ middle names are popular choices for first names.

“I’ve never in my life met another person named Marie,” said Marie Ghardilia, junior business administration major. “Well, at least not anyone under the age of 65. I’ve met a few Marys and Marias, but Marie is usually a middle name.”

Ghardilia’s middle name is Anastasia, which she believes to be very uncommon.

“I think it sounds funny because of the ‘i-a’ alliteration,” she said. “My parents are weird.”

Even though the use of a middle name generally means someone’s getting into trouble, take pride today in the name that helps create your personal identity.

Contact features reporter Courtney Cook at [email protected].