You might be asking yourself, “Why in the world did they decide to name the newsletter Minervanomics?”

Not a bad question.

When I started designing the new electronic newsletter for the department in August 2011, I had to come up with some sort of name to get it started.  Social networking mavens say that the name of your blog/site should be something snappy, easy to remember, and easy to spell.  They also suggest that, like Goldilocks’s bed, it should be Not Too Big and Not Too Small but Just Right.

The first name I came up with was UNCG Econ Grads–which became uncgecongrads.  Not the snappiest name in the world, but it did its duty as a placeholder while I worked on other ideas and tasks.

Unfortunately, the whole idea of an electronic newsletter got pushed to the back burner as other projects with hard deadlines came up.

Early in 2012, I was told it would be a Very Nice Thing if I returned to developing a newsletter for the department.  So, back to the drawingboard I went.  I spent a whole lot of time cruising the ‘net and checking out what other universities and departments used for social networking and electronic communications.  I finally settled on using a modified version of a WordPress blog since that seemed to have the advantage of being easy to use and more or less self-maintaining.

But the name still bothered me.

I did think of using the more obvious “Spartanomics” since the Spartan is the UNCG athletic mascot and he does appear on our newly-revised brochure describing the MA in Applied Economics program.  A quick Google search revealed that no one seemed to be using Spartanomics as a domain name, but the AP Economics Class at Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, has a little wikispace that uses that word.  It seemed like stealing toys from little kids to take their name away from them, so I left the Spartan in their enthusiastic hands and moved on.

mciverstatue-e1340468579639Now the idea of “something-nomics” had entered the picture, the next most obvious choice was Minerva.  As you may recall, “Minerva” was the original symbol of UNCG.  Charles McIver, UNCG’s Founding Father, selected her at the school’s opening in 1893 because she was the goddess of women and women’s arts.  Given that UNCG was originally a women’s college, it seemed like a good choice.

A quick search of Wikipedia–that fount of all Internet wisdom–unearths the factoid that the Roman goddess Minerva was derived from the Etruscan goddess Menrva who had her origins in an Italic (?) moon goddess Meneswa, which translates to “She who measures.”  A serendipitous bonus for a department that differentiates itself by focusing on applying economic theory and econometrics to real world data.

So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Your obedient serpent,


Followup:  Searching the UNCG website for something totally unrelated, I came across this link to a presentation from the Classics Department, giving a history of the goddess and the symbol:  Enjoy!  – J

More followup:  Alas, the Classics Department removed their great presentation on Minerva.  I’m leaving the link up in case they decide to reinstate it, and plan to send them an email asking them to bring back our history. – J.

And some more followup: The Classics Department brought back the history of Minerva, bigger and better than ever: