The world was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Stephen Hawking on Wednesday, March 14. No constituency was more distraught than the World Council of Stephens, which called an emergency meeting later that same night to decide how best to honor the late world-renowned physicist.

The Council held a press conference early Thursday morning to announce their decision to retire the name Stephen out of respect for former Alpha Stephen, Dr. Hawking.

This unprecedented move is pulled straight from the playbook of professional sports teams, who routinely retire the number of a great player when he or she leaves the team. It is unknown at this time if Dr. Hawking was a fan of sports, but sources close to him suggest that he did not play them often.

“It was the right thing to do,” said a software engineer formerly known as Stephen, who bravely stepped up to head the Stephen Renaming Task Force, which will begin operations immediately.

When asked if he thought there would be any resistance to the change from the global population of Stephens, The Software Engineer Formerly Known as Stephen said, “We Stephens, er, Former Stephens, are a pretty tight-knit community and we loved serving under Dr. Hawking. I doubt there will be much dissent.”

The Task Force is still trying to decide if Former Stephens will be given new names respectively or if one name will be chosen, but sources interviewed at the press conference indicate that the preference is for everyone keeping the same name, as the Council enjoys ordering stationary in bulk.