Just as you’re about to give your presentation at a conference, you see the chairperson pondering his programme dubiously. ‘Please welcome the next speaker, Guido Camps from... Wey-ghe-nin-gen, er... Wahk-uh-nine-gen..., Wage-nuh-gun University.’
|Guido Camps (34) is a vet, and will soon graduate with a PhD for MRI research on stomach emptying in humans. His hobbies are baking, beekeeping and unusual animals.|
We work and study at a great university. A university that is extremely internationally oriented, where the whole class switches to English so that overseas students can come here to do a Bachelor’s degree too. A university like that deserves an international name. Even in our own WURtube film Get to know Wageningen University & Research, you can hear the voiceover lady wondering how to pronounce ‘Wageningen’ in an English script. In the end she settles for a kind of Dunglish hybrid.
Name changes are nothing new for us. The university started in 1918 as an Agricultural College, then it became Wageningen Agricultural University, later Wageningen University and Research centre, and in 2016, Wageningen University & Research. However attached we all are to the name and city of ‘Wageningen’, it will always be a very Dutch tongue twister for English speakers. During my thesis defence at the end of December I therefore used one of my propositions to suggest we change our name to Rhine Valley University: a name which reflects our location and our European and international orientation, and which trips off the tongue in English. For the sentimental among us, we can add something: Rhine Valley University: Wageningen Campus.