For a banal Friday afternoon

This morning’s Chronicle of Higher Education Daily Report features “A Tradition of Banality” by Don Troop. (Warning: CHE‘s links are walled after a few days.) The “Banality” refers to the thousands of taglines collected at

Troop reports that Rick Baily built a database to make sure the taglines his company creates for higher education clients are unique. In a brilliant PR move, he uploaded the contents and created the free site, full of hours of Friday-afternoon entertainment for those of us eager to see others’ attempts to define an entire campus in one sentence or less. Here at the press we just try to do that for books and know it can be enormously frustrating. There are only so many synonyms for “examines.”

Or “excellence” for that matter.

Inspired by a word cloud [Rick Bailey] created on with the entire contents of the database, Mr. Bailey wrote what he deems the perfect tag line: “Colleges/Universities offering excellence in education and learning for a future life of success in the real world.

New game: Pick a college, any college. Look up its tag line. Add the words “in bed.”

Imagine my disappointment when I looked up the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, and found . . . nothing. Apparently my Alma Mater doesn’t have a tagline, unless you can pick it out of here. At one time our motto was “Learning and Labor,” embodied by the “twins” behind our treasured Alma Mater statue.

I have an idea for a Friday-afternoon game, “Create a tagline for UIUC,” and a few suggestions to start us off on the quest for the perfect bumper-sticker.

University of Illinois:

-Learning Computers and Belaboring Engineering, Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
-We put the “Unofficial” in St. Patrick’s Day
-Chiefly Sports
-Our library is under a corn field
-Where 3/14 is celebrated irrationally
-Alma Twins, Unite!

Hey, none of them include the words “excellent” or “examine!”