No doubt due to my standing as a distinguished alumnus – or an alumnus, period – I recently received an online poll soliciting my thoughts on a quintet of potential Rochester logos. I’ve always taken University logo politics very seriously and assign no small amount of credit to Rochester’s logo for convincing me to enroll here instead of Carnegie Mellon and it’s Rorschach-looking ink spill of a badge. Subsequently, I invested a significant amount into self-reflection and analysis of the candidates and emerged with a breakdown so thorough and compelling that it would be an injustice to condemn it to poll-response anonymity.

The expressed mission of LogoHunt 2007 is to find “a logo that is dignified and serious; that is a unique and distinctive symbol; and that says, ‘world-class research university.'” That being said, we can immediately discount logos three and four, as both prominently feature the dandelion. While they are both admittedly fine-looking shields-particularly sexy, angular number three-a logo with a flower hardly fits the above criteria.

For one, it is an affront on Rochester’s robust athletic program, which certainly deserves to be represented by a more intimidating and inspirational icon. Moreover, being that the new symbol is to be emblematic of our top-notch research chops, branding ourselves with a weed would be counter-productive-it’s as if we’re saying, “We’re out to advance the optical wavelength string red theory shift transference theorem, but in truth we can’t even squash a bit of lawn overgrowth.”

That leaves us with logos one, two and five, all of which of are strong, prime numbers. On the surface, the three are similar. They all share the holy trinity of Rochester symbols: a book, symbolizing more books, a ladybug, meant to evoke thoughts of other bugs and, by extension, our venerable Yellowjacket, and some drawing with a snake and a pole that means medicine, representing the prompt response times of MERT.

Additionally, all three proudly proclaim “Meliora,” in honor of what is arguably the school’s finest dining facility, and all three are shaped like a southward-pointing breast, intended to continue the proud tradition of gender equality that started with the christening of the Susan B. Anthony dormitory.

But only one, logo two, bears the number “1850” across the top, thereby revealing the weekly tuition costs of our fine institution-and in so doing, subtly boasting of the wealth of information attained in exchange for the wealth of Gambia. On the surface, then, it would seem that logo two is the runaway choice.

However, none of the five logos are truly sufficient. To wit, while they may contain a smattering of logo-like symbols and some Rochester-centric flourishes, none truly captures the essence of the Rochester experience. So I’ve come up with an additional suggestion, logo six, that does:

First off, we’ll keep the breast shape. That works. Next, slap Rush Rhees in the center, for in the library you can find nearly every element of Rochester life-an emphasis on knowledge, an eager, though muted, social scene and pockets of covert sex that would be embarrassing if discovered. On either side of the building, put hails of bullets. Make them Remington’s Yellow Jacket .22 Long Rifle rounds. This will not only convey a sense of gravity and force with regard to our sports teams, but also symbolizes the growing relationship the school has with the community surrounding it. Above it, add in “Meliora,” because that dining hall does deserve proper recognition. Then cover the entire bottom half in snow.

What you will then have is a logo that is indeed “dignified and serious” (bullets are no joke), “unique and distinctive” (verily) and saying “world-class research university” (where does research take place? In a library). You will also have a logo that closely resembles the tattoo I got on my inner thigh after too many drinks last month. And then I, finally, will have an explanation. I love Rochester. And I will even more so if it helps me out on this one.

Janowitz graduated from UR in 2004.



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