Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
The Diamondback recently reported that the University of Maryland could build a new dorm on the Varsity Practice Fields. It will probably need a name, and this university has a long tradition of naming dorms after Maryland counties and county seats. Fortunately for the university, a small reserve of county seat names remain possibilities. Of those, the superior choice is Rockville.
In 1914, this university unveiled Calvert Hall, the first dorm-only building on the campus, according to the residential facilities department. Over the course of the next half-century, newly constructed dorms were named after Maryland's counties, culminating in 1959, when the last county, Worcester, finally had a dorm named for it.
However, students kept enrolling. Authorities agreed new dorms were needed, as well as a new theme. The second round of dorms were all named for county seats, starting with Cambridge Hall in 1961 — Annapolis Hall exists, but not as a dorm — and proceeding alphabetically. Since then, every new dorm has been named after a county seat. The seats hitherto neglected by the university are the following: Princess Anne, Rockville, Salisbury, Snow Hill, Towson, Upper Marlboro and Westminster.
While Princess Anne would be the next choice in this pattern, it is my opinion as a proud citizen of the great city of Rockville that the new dorm should be named Rockville Hall. And other Rockvillians agree.
"As Mayor of Rockville, I can think of no better way for the University of Maryland to make residents feel at home on campus than to name a residence hall after the city. We share so many interests with the university — a love of research, especially in the sciences, an emphasis on fitness and living well, and a strong historic commitment to diversity and inclusion," Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said through a city official. "What could rock more than living in Rockville Hall?"
Rockville is larger than any of the other candidates. With more than 60,000 residents, it is the third-most populous city in Maryland and the third-most populous county seat, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
These numbers understate how many people view Rockville as their home. Rockville is at the geographic center of Maryland's most populous county, Montgomery, and some residents of dense nearby suburbs consider themselves citizens of Rockville. For instance, my cousins, despite living outside the municipal limits of Rockville, still have a Rockville postal code and introduce themselves as being from Rockville.
Many Rockvillians attend this university. According to Bethesda Magazine, Richard Montgomery and Thomas S. Wootton — two public high schools in Rockville — had more than 400 graduating seniors accepted into this university in 2015. And there are thousands more students from Montgomery County, students who would swell with pride if their county seat has a place among the dorms.
Let's survey some of the other candidates:
Upper Marlboro has about 600 residents. The new dorm would likely have more people living in it than the town.
Snow Hill has about 2,000 residents. Also, wouldn't it would be fitting that, just as Worcester was the last county to get a dorm, Snow Hill, Worcester's seat, should be the last county seat to get a dorm named after it?
Princess Anne lends itself to confusion with existing dorms. Queen Anne's Hall already exists, as does Anne Arundel Hall. Two Annes is enough for now.
Towson is tarred by association with Towson University. Even worse, it's not incorporated. Rockville has been a respectably incorporated city for more than 150 years. Its place in line should not be cut by a flagrantly unincorporated locality.
Salisbury is also associated with another school, Salisbury University. Let's move on.
Westminster has a good case — it has a respectable population of 18,000 and a storied history. However, Rockville is larger, and has an even more storied history. It has a vibrant, innovative urban town center, business headquarters, federal agencies, and cultural attractions. Rockville is a diverse city, both racially and economically, with large immigrant and minority populations. No other city in Maryland is as stellar of a role model for the residents of the future dorm as Rockville.
Rockville's long history could be incorporated into the new dorm. Rockville has had four different names: Hungerford's Tavern during Revolutionary times; Montgomery Court House from 1776 to the 1780s, when it was named the county seat; Williamsburgh from the 1780s to 1801, named after the Williams family; and Rockville from 1801 to now, due to Rock Creek. The dorm could have a food service area called Hungerford's Tavern, a study lounge called Montgomery Court House and a fitness room called Williamsburgh.
In Rockville, we have a motto: "Get Into It!" No slogan could be more fitting for our newest dorm, the first stepping stone for many into the chaotic world of adulthood. I urge the university to name the newest dorm after Maryland's finest city, Rockville.
Nathan Fredman is a senior physics major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.