Kavanaugh is credited with coming up with the name for Nickelodeon. After Dr. Vivian Horner asked her co-workers to help come up with a list of possible names for the network, Sandy Kavanaugh proposed "Nickelodeon," even though she wasn't fully satisfied with it. In an interview, she recalled:
- "The name of the network had come from Vivian Horner wanting me to come up with a list of possibilities. Everybody was suffering over what to call it. I came up with a list and Nickelodeon was my favorite. A lot of the other names we came up with were bad... I wasn't thrilled with 'Nickelodeon.' It was whimsical sounding, though. It had a fun lilt."
- ―Sandy Kavanaugh in the 2013 book Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age