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Miami seals history and future in present

For The Miami Student

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 12:12


Contributed by Miami University

Workers assemble all the components of the 3D seal that will act as a the heart of the new Armstrong Student Center.

The two-story bicentennial rotunda room greets students as they enter the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) from the Hub. The middle of this grand room is home to the Miami University Great Seal.

The seal, driven three feet below the ground, is 12 feet wide with a thick glass case over top of it. It is a real-life replica of the university’s seal, a Miami signature since 1826.

ASC’s seal has three different elements that are symbolic of Miami: an open book, a telescope and a globe. The open book represents wisdom and continued learning, the telescope is a symbol of the future and the globe signifies the present. Above the three elements is the Miami motto that reads, “Prodesse Quam Conspici.” In other words, “To accomplish without being conspicuous.”

“Bob Keller, former University Architect, has dreamed this thing down to every detail that it just symbolizes Miami in every possible way.” Katie Wilson, Director of the Armstrong Student Center, said.

The globe is from a Miami academic building, Wilson said, while the wood that supports the globe came from a tree that fell on campus. Other details include bricks from two of Miami’s oldest buildings and a celestial map from Feb. 18, 1809—when Miami was chartered—as the seal’s backdrop.

The open book is the facet of the seal that boasts the most student participation. In March 2013, President David Hodge asked Miami students to partake in a writing contest that would fill the pages of the book. Essays had to be 1809 worlds or less, and the content was focused on the connection between “Old Miami” and “New Miami.”

There were 84 entries in the competition and faculty members and students picked the 12 finalists anonymously. Junior Amanda Hancock won the grand prize of $2,000 and her essay is on the open page of the book.

“I knew it was a long shot that I was going to win,” Hancock said. “Lots of people were interested [in the contest] so I didn’t expect anything.”

Hodge notified her of her victory in a personal email.

Accompanying the 12 essays in the book are 12 drawings by twin sisters Sophia and Madelyn Delgado. Both are senior architecture majors at Miami University. They said it took them two weeks to draw 12 iconic buildings from Miami’s campus.

“We are starting a small business,” Sophia said. “We are in the process of getting our drawings for the book licensed.”

The Delgado twins plan on turning their drawings into stationeries and postcards to be sold in the Miami University Bookstore.

Wilson, Hancock and the Delgado twins all plan on being present at the grand opening of the newest campus building, where their hard work and dedication will be on display.

“We are really excited about the opening of the building,” Madelyn said. “ We haven’t met everyone who has been a part of creating the seal and we are looking forward to meeting them at the opening.”

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