George Washington University’s just-hired Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Public Health is Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton which made UD laugh… I mean, quote Bopper unquote? No mention of Bopper’s childish moniker appears in this totally straight account (Harvard education, community outreach, etc.) of his executive entry into GW… But UD wonders… Would… I dunno… would, say, Sheila “Boom-Boom” Fitzgerald retain, in her public documents, her nickname?

Extensive research reveals the unlikelihood of this:

Frank Nuessel, a professor of language at the University of Louisville and editor of NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics [says,] “Interestingly, female CEOs appear to prefer to use their full names and not nicknames, which could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light.”

Of the women leading the 1000 biggest companies in America, Patricia “Pat” Woertz of Archer Daniels Midland is one of just a few to use a nickname…

“Pat.” Far out.

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12 Responses to “Nicknames: The Last Frontier.”

  1. david foster Says:

    I was once at a company where we had a customer (a mid-level exec of another company) whose nickname was “Muffin,” which she put on her business card.

    A woman at our company thought this was very strange, and said, rather stridently “I’d rather put *shitface* on my business card than “Muffin.”

    (No, the customer wasn’t there at the time)

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    david: funny!

  3. Ian Says:

    Ah, but he’s no Big Bopper. Recall watching Sha Na Na as a kid. And how bizarre they were at Woodstock. And then one of them became a linguistics prof.

    Meanwhile, one of our faculty goes by Torch.
    http://scholar.gse.upenn.edu/tlytle

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    “Torch” is very good. Manly. Plus, in these legalization times, very mary jane.

    And yes – in searching for Bopper‘s possible causes, I found myself revisiting the Big Bopper. My sisters and I used to sing – in very deep voices – Chantilly Lace during long family car drives. Much laughter.

  5. adam Says:

    As long as he calls himself Bopper
    It tells us he’s somehow improper –
    Not really serious,
    Almost imperious,
    And setting him up for a cropper.

  6. Ian Says:

    Mortified to realize I conflated the Big Bopper with Bowzer. The perils of commenting when in one’s cups. Or something.

  7. Margaret Soltan Says:

    All is forgiven.

  8. Van L. Hayhow Says:

    Funny, I have seen newspapers give their standards on when they use nicknames in quotes when printing someone’s name. Some newspapers restrict the use of nicknames in quotes to mob figures. Might want to check his background again.

  9. Crimson05er Says:

    Speaking of the Big Bopper, I certainly hope that if you ever encounter this Dean around GW you greet him with “Hellooo, Baby!” and ask him if he’s recently been down I-66 to Chantilly. So many possibilities of song titles to drop into conversation with him. He’ll wonder why everyone he talks to punctuates conversations with “That’s What I’m Talking About!” or “It’s The Truth, Ruth!”

    Alternately you can just indiscriminately refer to any staffers with him as “Buddy” and “Ritchie.”

  10. janet gool Says:

    Hello Margaret!
    I live in a country where the prime minister is called “Bibi” and the minister of defense “Boogey”.
    Janet

  11. Margaret Soltan Says:

    janet: And of course Golda – exactly like Margaret Thatcher – got the adorable “Iron Lady” nickname.

  12. david foster Says:

    I understand from a former Navy pilot that nicknames /call signs in naval aviation are not chosen by the individual but rather by his peer group, and are generally based on something he did that was dumb and/or embarrassing.

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