Most people hate it when other people throw things at them. Some people don’t, and we call them loons. Take, for example, me—not as a loon (though some may hold that true), but as someone who hates having things thrown at him.
I mean, if I were to be strolling down Van Meter highway when, from out of the hedge work, a brick-wielding assailant popped and tossed the old square stone at the Varner head, I’d be remiss to tell you I wouldn’t be miffed.Really, there are only two things people like having thrown at them: (1) a rope in the event of a misstep into a pit of quicksand and (2) numbers.
It is the latter that I’m about to throw at you now. (If you’re presently getting sucked down into the earth by some of the quick stuff, I do apologize.)
They’ll come in this order: 30, 15, 12/1915, 01.03, 6, 96 ¾.
There are about 30 days in a month.
15 is half of 30. Thus, half a month is 15 days. Semimonthly means “twice per month,” or roughly every 15 days. This newspaper publishes twice a month. The Latin word for fifteen is quindecim.
“Ah,” I can hear you say. “That’s where this guy was going.”
“Yes,” I say, “but this newspaper wasn’t always called The Quindecim.”
It was at a meeting of the College Council in December of 1915 that President Guth suggested the idea of a weekly newspaper. Published entirely by the students, the newspaper was intended to be, as an announcement in the eventual first issue declared, “a band to knit the college closer together,” and “to unite the alumnae of the college to the alma mater.”
The period between inception and fruition was not great: Less than a month had passed when, on January 3, 1916, the Goucher College Weekly ran its first issue. Katherine Treide, ’17 served as its first Editor-In-Chief, Professor Robert M. Gay as its first Faculty Advisor.
Sporting headlines like, “Music for Baltimore’s New Anthem Chosen,” “The New Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,” and “Championship Basketball Team Returns,” the issue marked its inauguration by feauring celebratory commentary from students and alumnae. The issue also featured a statement of intent from the editors (“We hope to make Goucher even more wide awake than it has been in the past,” they wrote) and, not least of all, a letter from college president William Guth .
“The first issue of the Goucher College Weekly,” Guth wrote in his column, recognizing the Weekly’s intrinsic role in the evolution of the college, “is an epoch in the history of the college…There will be moments when discouragement will take hold of the Board of Editors or of individual members thereof…[when] the Goucher College Weekly will need the subscriptions of its natural constituency…and the sympathetic support of all those in any way interested in Goucher College…”
The Goucher College Weekly moniker lasted nearly six decades. Before the 1973-1974 academic year, the editors decided to change the name from Weekly to Outcry. But the name did not stick; it was a mere year-and-a-half before the editorial board decided the publication style did not really live up to its new title. Outcry reverted back to
Weekly in February of 1975.
Soon, even its old title did not live up to its new publication style either. As Frederic O. Musser writes in his History of Goucher College, 1930-1985, “Three years later, on February 16, 1978, Weekly began publishing every other week—a policy that seemed once again to contradict its name; still, the students were reluctant to abandon the familiar title, so they compromised by printing a diagonal slash through the word ‘Weekly,’ and added a second line in smaller print: ‘A fortnightly Publication.’”
In 1985 the Weekly staff abandoned the slash entirely, having decided a more distinctive name was in order. And so it was that Weekly became Quindecim, the Latin word for fifteen, suggesting the number of days between issues.
Of all the columns featured in Goucher College Weekly’s first issue 96-and-three-quarter-years ago, student Christie Y. Dulaney’s piece is perhaps the most interesting.
She writes: “Some fine day in 1966 when Goucher has moved to her beautiful two hundred and forty acre campus out in the country…our granddaughters will be reading their Goucher Daily, and wondering how we of Middle Ages managed to get along with a paper only every ten days.”
The Q’s current two-week cycle wrecks the nerves of the editors just fine. (Before the semester ends, one of us is sure to stumble into the woods in a crazed stupor, never to be heard from again.) So we’re sitting here in astoundment, wondering how they of “Middle Ages” managed to publish every week a paper filled with quality content, content that seldom contained a poorly written phrase.