All in favor? Soon after our founding trustees decided to buy the United States Hotel (the building where the University first established its campus), a temporary seal had to be created for the purchase’s legal documents. On May 15, 1851, faculty voted that the board adopt “Meliora” as the motto for the University’s seal.
Surprise, surprise. Meliora is most likely to have been proposed by Greek and Latin Professor Asahel Kendrick, one of the University’s original faculty members. University Professor Alfred Geier believes Kendrick was inspired by lines from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses: “video meliora proboque,” which means “I see and appreciate better things.”
We chose wisely. As an adjective, Meliora translates to “better.” However, it can also be used as a noun, in which case it can mean “better things,” “always better,” “ever better,” or in a way that most fully conveys the meaning, “for the pursuit of the better.” This translation is the foundation of our mission statement: Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world ever better.
“Ever better” squared. Over time Meliora has effectively Meliora-ed itself. Meliora has transcended its status as a motto to become an ethic, a value, and a way of life we all share. It is now a characteristic that is used in the description of Rochester alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends.
Meliorist. It’s a real word. Not only is it a real word, by definition, it is also what we are. A meliorist is a believer in the concept that the world may be made better by human effort. At the very least, from reading these five things, you are now a better “Balderdash” player.