Aloysius Gonzaga

I swear I’ll get to this guy eventually…

So… exciting news, at least for me. Last week, I received an invitation for an interview at USC Keck School of Medicine, and Sunday I received an interview invitation to Yale. Yale! Every funny names blogger should be so lucky!

Last week also saw the submission of a manuscript for which I am a co-author to the Journal of Neuroscience. Best case scenario with journal submissions is that you get a response asking you to perform more experiments before they can publish it. Worst case scenario (60-75% of the time) is that you get rejected right off the bat (insert Bill Wambsganss reference here). It’s rare that you hope that you’re required to do more work, but that’s what I’m hoping for – the “privilege” of doing more experiments.

Anyway, you may have noticed a lack of activity from Arto and I lately. There are good reasons for this – in addition to the manuscript and preparing for a UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine interview today, I had a neuroscience midterm last week and hella data to quantify for another research project I’m involved in. For his part, Arto has attended two trade shows in the past 7 days – a green business trade show in San Francisco for his wife’s company, and a diving-related show this past weekend in Las Vegas for his father-in-law’s company (for which Arto is a researcher, videographer and copy editor, and his wife is chief engineer). For his part, Rob has been busy doing financial analysis work, but still managed to reliably post on Wednesday like he usually does.

But anyway, that’s aside from the point. Yale interview!

Speaking of basketball and bridesmaids, Patrick Aloysius Ewing is one of the best players to never win an NBA championship.

Thinking about Yale got me thinking about funny named university founders. During the Funny Names Blog days of yore, I profiled the awesomely awesome Cornelius “The Commodore” Vanderbilt, and I figure there’s no better occasion to feature my favorite bridesmaid in the funny named university founders category, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.

For you antisocial readers who didn’t have any friends in the 1920’s, Aloysius is pronounced al-uh-wish-iss, and went out of style recently for some odd reason.

Which is a darn shame. The world needs more Aloysiuses. The only two Aloysiuses I know of are NBA legend Patrick Aloysius Ewing and of course, the legendary Aloysius Gonzaga. That’s a pretty good track record.

So what made Aloysius Gonzaga so special? Well, he was born to tremendous wealth, but early in life decided on an ascetic lifestyle and joined the Jesuit order in Madrid. He had originally considered joining the Capuchins, but presumably didn’t want his faith to be mistaken with the species of monkey.

…but let’s face it folks, they’re pretty darn adorable!

All humor aside, Aloysius was serious about his faith. He lived such an ascetic, monastic lifestyle that frickin’ monks told him that he should really tone down his asceticism, eat more, and spend more time chilling with other novices and members of the congregation, as well as with lay people. The reason I’m not a monk is because I see “lay people” and get a very different idea than getting to know people not “of the cloth.”

Anyway, the priests’ suggestion was good, as Aloysius began to suffer from ill health, including kidney diseases, insomnia and a skin disease. In 1590, at age 22, he had a vision where Archangel Gabriel told him he would die within the next year (though perhaps just conjecture, this is important because the occurrence of spiritual miracles is a huge factor in being canonized for sainthood).

Pop quiz: between this 16th century aristocrat-turned monk, and the above-pictured Patrick Ewing, which individual has a successful basketball program named after him?

It turned out AG (Archangel Gabriel, or Aloysius Gonzaga, depending on your belief in spiritual visitation) was right. In 1591, while caring for the victims of an epidemic, Gonzaga passed away of disease. In only 23 years, however, he made quite an impact: he was later canonized as a saint, and 296 years after his passing, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington was named in his honor.

Most people today are most familiar with the university, which – despite its <5,000 undergrads (and let’s face it, a predominantly Caucasian student body) – boasts one of the nation’s best and most consistent basketball programs, having made the NCAA tournament thirteen straight times since 1999. This leaves Gonzaga tied for fourth longest active streak, behind three much bigger schools – University of Kansas, Duke, and Michigan State. With a school named after Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and a funny-named school president in Thayne McCulloh, I can see this streak lasting for a very long time. Long live Aloysius!

About Dave

Based out of San Diego, California. Co-founder of the Blog of Funny Names.
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9 Responses to Aloysius Gonzaga

  1. marksackler says:

    Watch out, Dave. Yale is close enough to show up on my radar screen.

  2. unfetteredbs says:

    Yale.. good luck and eat at Pepe’s when you are there..

  3. Liz says:


  4. Bumba says:

    Speaking of Yale, another great name (not so funny but a fine name nonetheless) is that of the old NFL kicking specialist Yale Larry. I think he played for the Detroit Lions.

  5. gravitasbaby says:

    Hey Dave, Congratulations on the med school news. And good luck!

  6. amb says:

    Yay! Not at all surprised, and all kinds of happy for you, upon hearing this news.

    Also: “The reason I’m not a monk is because I see “lay people” and get a very different idea than getting to know people not “of the cloth.” made my coffee come out of my nose.

    Like I said, all kinds of happy today 😀

  7. currylove says:

    Awesome!! Congrats on your interviews 🙂

  8. Congratulations on the interviews. When do you find the time to blog?

  9. Arto says:

    Aloysius! Great post. I have indeed been all over the place, except at the Funny Names HQ, but expect a return to form this week. On the plus side, I was introduced to someone named Lincoln Pain at one the aforementioned trade shows, so the funny (or awesome) names never leave you.

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