Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An all-too-brief survey of university crests

Recent inquiries into the meaning and history of the Old Library's "Scientia Medica Continuet" medallion led me to do some research on university crests. Sara's 2007 post on the Old Library medallion has proved indispensable - I hope that the following survey of crests of OHSU schools will also come in handy in the future.

Until the mid-1970s, both the School of Medicine and School of Dentistry used the University of Oregon crest, familiar to Oregonians everywhere:

This design was often adapted to include the school's name in the border. Both SOM and SOD sometimes imposed a Rod of Asclepius over the mountain image:

However, the Department of Nursing Education (later the School of Nursing) had its own distinctive crest, featuring a female figure holding a lamp - a traditional symbol of the nursing profession:

Both SOD and SON changed their crests in the early 1970s. The new crests show a later 20th-century preference for boldness and simplicity in graphic design, and look more like logos:

In 1974, University of Oregon Health Sciences Center was formed. A stylized Rod of Asclepius symbol appeared, intended to represent all three schools collectively.

Later iterations of the OHSU logo tended towards abstraction and inclusivity, leading to our current logo, which evokes the flame of a torch.

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