However, every present comes from its past. The official name of Ewha, “Ewha Womans University” is a remembrance of Ewha’s very first history of starting Ewha Haktang in 1886 with a single student. The name also means to keep the founding philosophy of the Inaugural President Mary F. Scranton to enlighten female students as independent individuals. So when Ewha became a university in 1946, the seventh Ewha President Helen Kim added an “s” to empathize that it was not women as a whole group but individual woman“s” who receive the education.
Of course the meaningful history and the founding philosophy, which made Ewha as of, now should be cherished and well remembered, however, the obvious misspelled name—whether they are intentionally designed or not—often becomes inconvenient to the students and faculties of Ewha, causes problems at times, and might ultimately harm Ewha’s image.
The misspelled name often gives students and professors perplexing moments when they have to explain the reason why Ewha uses Womans instead of Woman’s or Women’s to others.
In fact, not all of the Ewha students know the exact story and the meaning behind the history. Then what are the odds of people outside Ewha knowing the story behind the name? It is certainly inconvenient to explain the story and convince every people who think “Womans” is just a simple grammatical mistake from ignorance.
It becomes an even bigger problem when students or professors cannot explain the meaning directly. Problems rise in situations for example, when students apply for global companies or graduate schools abroad, or professors publish papers in journals or articles or columns in magazines or newspapers. The admissions officers or the employers would glance down the application form or the résumé and think the applicant does not even know how to pluralize woman. Especially in case of professors publishing articles to journals, sometimes the editors might casually correct “Womans” into “Woman’s” or “Women’s” and if the paper is published with the “mistakenly corrected” name, the paper might not be credited on the professor’s record.
In addition, grammatical mistake in official name gives bad influence to Ewha’s image. The obvious grammar-error looking spelling indeed, does not make Ewha look so bright. Ewha is one of the leading universities in Korea and if Ewha wants to be a leading global education institution, it should brand itself with the brightest means and having a correct name should be the start.
Although rather radical, it might even be a good idea to simply get rid of the “Woman” from the official English name. For example, in the case of the most prominent women’s colleges such as Wellesley College, Barnard College or Bryn Mawr College, they often leave “women” out of their names. Indeed, out of total 54 women’s colleges in North America, only three colleges indicated it was a women’s college within their names. Indeed Ewha was first named Ewha College when the sixth Ewha President Alice R. Appenzeller first founded Ewha.
Ewha can manage to maintain the history and the founding philosophy and pass down the legacy even if Ewha corrects the official English name. For more efficiency and for better image of Ewha in the global society, Ewha should care enough to revise the official English name.