Letter: College needs worthy motto | AspenTimes.com

Letter: College needs worthy motto

Hats off to all who had a hand in planning and executing last week’s “Aspen History 101” at the newly refurbished Wheeler Opera House. This survey of the town’s history was pure joy, from the vivid portrayals of Aspen pioneers (some featuring actual descendants of the people depicted) to the delightful condensed history of the town’s later decades given by the History Players (whose flawless ensemble, tight three-part harmony and bubbling mirth never cease to amaze) to the fascinating discussion of the genesis and early days of Aspen State Teachers College, presented with stately aplomb by Dr. Slats Cabbage, one of the school’s founding fathers. Dr. Cabbage stands as living proof that a mere will o’ the wisp, if thoughtfully nurtured, can over time take on its own enduring reality. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — and there is an Aspen State Teachers College, too.

I do have a quibble (and what letter to the editor would be complete without one?) regarding the college’s motto, “Nolo accreditato,” or, “I have no wish for accreditation.” While admirable in its reflection of the independent spirit of the founders, it is, I fear, rendered in appallingly bad Latin: Classical Latin has no such word as “accreditato,” and even if it did, that “o” ending could not be sensibly parsed. Thus I propose a contest, open to all current and former students, to create a grammatically acceptable Latin motto, one that gets to the heart of the college’s mission while also avoiding needless embarrassment. The prize might be a semester’s complete tuition remission.

Aspen State Teachers College, with its storied past, deserves a fitting motto. Dr. Cabbage, are you listening?

Donald Wilson

St. Louis