Wednesday, April 20, 2011
It Was Not Broken
The crests, or logos, of my Alma Mater. Several years ago the Administration decided to change the crest to the stylized version with the heart and the book and no words...esentially "modernizing" the look of the symbol. This change was made despite considerable Alumni criticism and even a large amount of resistance from the students. I can only imagine the meetings where some marketing wanker sold a bill of goods to the President and others, using buzzwords like "branding" and "engagement" and "target prospects" and "motivation"...all tawaddle in my estimation as relates to an original University Seal designed and used since 1866. After all, is not a University of Lehigh's caliber and reputation trading on tradition and history? Perhaps the Administration was capitualting to a visceral reaction to childish criticism of the original seal since it contains the word "Homo."
I felt the change was stupid and wrote a lengthy letter to the President in opposition. In my opinion, the new logo sucks.
The University engaged in further wholesale change when in 1995 they changed the Sports Mascot from "Engineers" to the "Mountain Hawk." Alumni and students once again rebeled against this breach of tradition. We speculated this was a concession to the Business and Liberal Arts programs who felt unfairly pigeon-holed by the reference to Lehigh's long standing (and cherished) reputation as a top flight engineering school...one of the Nation's best. Forget that the Non-engineering discilpines have also enjoyed a fine reputation, the Administration went ahead with another change. There is no such thing as a "Mountain Hawk" per se, (Lehigh is on a Mountain and there are hawks around)....but that did not stop them. Would Yale lead out a new mascot...no more bulldog...but a penguin perhaps? What would the retired naval officers think if instead of a goat, a Llama was brought onto the field at the Army-Navy game? You get the point.
As a loyal and contributing Alumni I never liked these changes and could only think: "If it ain't broke don't fix it." These changes crystalized somewhat as my daughter awaits word from the "wait-list" as to whether she will go there in the Fall. Actually, I believe her first choice lies elsewhere so it may become "academic" in any event.