Chapter Two: 1984–1985 29
Administration and Staff
The administration adopted a new logo for Wake Forest
in the summer of 1984. Designed by the R.J. Reynolds
graphics department, it was meant to encompass the dif-
ferent parts of the University but instead sowed discord.
First, various constituencies were upset that the admin-
istration had made the decision without consulting more
faculty members. Second, many were concerned that the
logo had dropped the University seal. The logo was also
criticized as “stiff, lifeless, and blocky.”
Hearn and other administrators responded that the University seal would appear
as a watermark on all new stationary and as the University’s signature on official docu-
ments such as diplomas. Still, Ralph Wood, Associate Professor of Religion, criticized
the new logo: “Without the seal, we do not declare the school’s antiquity. We lose
our strong humanistic commitment and we give up our overt Christian tradition.”
History Professor David Smiley wrote a protest sonnet, “The Seal,” that read, in part:
The symbol was once the seal of the fact.
What made the school special was her impact
On the mind, and on the faith that she backed.
The letters will now display a new head.
The tradition of tradition is dead.
In an Old Gold and Black editorial titled “The Great Seal Caper,” a student weighed
in: “The administration seems to have made a mistake by not consulting with more
faculty members. Granted, a stationery change doesn’t usually result in a lot of con-
troversy, but someone should have anticipated that dropping the seal might upset
the faculty.” The next week, a longer editorial argued that “the only valid argument
against the new stationery logo is that it is not as attractive as the former letterhead.”
The author pointed out that the University still had the seal, but, further, “our reli-
gious/liberal arts tradition does not depend on the seal for its existence. Whether or
not the seal appears on the official stationery has nothing to do with the vivacity of
Wake Forest’s tradition.”
Much more propitiously, the administration invited two of the most powerful
men of the century to speak on campus to students, faculty, and staff. Holocaust
survivor Elie Wiesel, professor, author, and 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke
on Founders’ Day in February, and a few weeks later former President Jimmy Carter
delivered the annual Irving E. Carlyle lecture.
Promotions and Transitions
Administrative recognitions, pro-
motions, and transitions during
the year included the installation of
Wake Forest University seal
Wake Forest logo