The symbol of Saint Joseph’s College, the only Catholic college in Maine, has long been a seal with a cross on a shield with the motto “Fortitudo et Spes” meaning “Fortitude and Hope.” But the president of the college just announced in a letter to students forwarded to The Cardinal Newman Society that after an extensive marketing study, the college founded by The Sisters of Mercy will be removing the cross and motto from the logo.
“This is about much more than a logo or a look,” said Brent Wooten, director of online marketing for Saint Joseph’s in the college’s magazine. “It’s about who we are.”
In a letter exclusively obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society, President Dr. James S. Dlugos informed students of the change:
As the fall semester winds down, I know you are busy with completing classes, preparing for finals and all of the usual end-of-term activities. I wish you all the best as you push on toward the holidays.
After a well-deserved break you will return to campus finding a new look and a new organization. Last year, we undertook an extensive marketing survey. We canvassed more than 3,000 individuals, including faculty, staff, students, parents, college counselors and alumni. One of the results is a refreshed identity for the College, including a new logo which allows us to promote our curriculum and uniqueness as an institution in a format relevant to perspective students in New England and beyond…
On behalf of everyone at Saint Joseph’s, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a safe and joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year.
The old logo:
The new logo is simply five gold bars in the shape of a shield, according to the letter.
According to the college’s website, Saint Joseph’s, which was founded by The Sisters of Mercy in 1912, conducted research on how people perceive the college in order to establish a brand. “A brand is much more than a logo or a visual system,” said faculty member Mary Lynn Engel in the college’s magazine. Engel, who served on the branding committee and teaches a course in branding on campus, said, “The Saint Joseph’s brand will be a holistic concept about who we are and how we tell others who we are.”
The college hired branding firm Ethos Marketing and its research partner, Pan Atlantic Strategic Marketing Services, to survey high school seniors and their parents (in Maine and Massachusetts); current on-campus and online students; prospective online learners; recent alumni; and faculty and staff. The surveys asked about factors considered in choosing a college, key images and perceptions of Saint Joseph’s, and the major strengths and weaknesses of the college. Focus groups were conducted with similar groups and the Sisters of Mercy associated with Saint Joseph’s College.
Clearly, the cross does not poll well. Neither does the Latin motto “Fortitude and Hope.”
The college’s mission statement reads, “Rooted in and professing fidelity to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the doctrines and heritage of the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Joseph’s College, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, is a liberal arts college that nurtures intellectual, spiritual and social growth in students of all ages and all faiths within a value-centered environment.”
Saint Joseph’s College did not respond to questions by the time of publication.
This article was originally published in Campus Notes, the blog of The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). Founded in 1993, the mission of The Cardinal Newman Society is to help renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education. They can be contacted at: alert at cardinalnewmansociety dot org.