What’s missing in the University of California’s new logo?
The University of California has revealed their new logo recently, which replaces the logo that has been in use more than one hundred years. As you’d expect, the new design is not universally welcomed. Far from it.
You can guess which logo is the old one and which is the updated version (see right). Many have suggested that the new logo reminds them of a toilet flushing. Once such a thought is suggested, it’s hard to see the new logo any other way. When I look at it I even hear the whoosh of a power flush.
My concern is not the flushing, but what is being flushed down the toilet. What’s missing from the former logo? A lot. the new version is much simpler, so just about everything is left out except the U and the C. The in-house team that designed the logo explains that the blue U also represents the book in the former logo. That book is said to represent knowledge.
One missing element is the ribbon which contains the motto, “Let there be light,” a reference to the Genesis account of creation. I haven’t heard or read why that was left out, but it’s easy to imagine why that line would be an embarrassment to the UC system today. There’s the separation of church and state issues for starters. Besides that, higher education has moved a world away from the world view that sees God as the creator and beginning of all wisdom. I wonder whether that might be a reason for updating the logo.
This new logo flap is a reminder that many if not most of our colleges and universities were founded for the purpose of knowing God through God’s revelation of the Bible, Jesus Christ and God’s creation (nature).
John Ortberg demonstrates this in his book, Who Is This Man?quoting historian George Marsden:
George Marsden noted that “one of the remarkable facts about American history is that within six years of landing in the Massachusetts wilderness, Puritans established what would soon become a reputable college.” This is from its student handbook: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, (John 17: 3), and therefore to lay Christ … as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” That was Harvard University
Then educators began Yale and William & Mary and Princeton and Brown with the same founding purpose, that the main end of one’s life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ. All but one school started before the American Revolution was begun to serve the Jesus movement. Ninety-two percent of the first 138 colleges and universities founded in America were begun for followers of this uneducated, itinerant, never-wrote-a-book Carpenter.
Though many colleges and universities would today disavow such a purpose, the lingering effects of foundational beliefs remain. We hold as self-evident that life is enriched through the study of literature, arts and nature. Christians would add that we know and love God more fully when we study God’s revelation – in Scripture, the person of Jesus Christ and the Creation.
We are discovering the difference Jesus has made in our world at The Vine, Sunday mornings in December and January. One of those differences is in the area of learning. Jesus encouraged his followers to be curious and study the Scriptures and the natural world when he instructed his followers to love God with all their heart, soul and mind. Please join us. I also highly recommend Ortberg’s book.