Old Becomes New For TU Shield

January 1, 2003

Carol J. Schlueter

A century-old symbol rejuvenated four years ago for the University Commencement ceremony has vaulted to center stage as Tulane's new institutional identity. The new logo, which is being reproduced on business cards and stationery, signs and publications, emerged from a motif--the overlapping TU letters on a shield on Tilton Hall, built in 1902.

The same motif is used on Cudd Hall, and the overlapping TU letters also appear on the Newcomb College seal. It has been some 20 years since the word Tulane in its identifiable form was adopted along with a stationery system. In the intervening years, many logos and symbols have come into use, serving to dilute Tulane's symbolic image.

"When I came here I noticed there wasn't one individual logo which all parts of the university were using," Cowen said. "Therefore, we weren't getting the synergies and power of the Tulane name. This new program brings us all under the same umbrella, so we all look like and feel like we are part of the same university."

The new visual identity system was developed by the Office of University Publications, a division of university communications. The publications office as well as university printing offices on both campuses are involved in the typesetting and ordering of new stationery, business cards and other materials for campus use.

Debbie Grant, assistant vice president of university communications, outlined the new program to Administrative Council on Oct. 2. The president and cabinet gave the new logo their approval this summer. Switching color schemes is one major change for university stationery and cards. All business cards will now be printed in two colors--black and a new dark green that is slightly different than that used on the previous logo.

The two-color form also is preferred for letterhead and envelopes. Visual identity team members have been busy on the new system since early summer, working on the logo standards and developing business cards and stationery for administrative units.

In addition to bringing forward the new logo, new policies have been developed for several issues related to Tulane's overall identity, including: The football-shaped university seal is being removed from general circulation and its use will be restricted to diplomas, transcripts and Board of Tulane communications. Tulane athletics logos will be restricted for athletics-related uses. These logos should not be used for any administrative or academic purposes, Grant said.

A moratorium has been established on development of any new logos for programs, centers or other units, so that the campuses can support the roll-out of the new logo system. Check the following Web link to download the new logo, read the rules for its use, and start the ordering process for new stationery items: http://

Cowen said he was pleased with the new program. "This logo has tradition and history at the institution and it will represent us very well," he said. Reaction to the logo across the Tulane community has been very positive, although some academic leaders have expressed concern about use of their separate college and school logos.

Nick Altiero, engineering dean, called the logo overhaul long overdue and said unifying under one logo system was a good idea. The new logo also has the strong support of Earl Bihlmeyer, senior associate vice president at the health sciences center. He oversees document and visual communication services, which includes the university printing offices. He said those offices would do everything we can to make this easy to do and smooth, and also maintain the standard.

Ronald E. Marks, interim dean of the School of Social Work, said the program will provide a unifying visual effect. It pulls very disparate units together under a common identity. "We're certainly delighted to make the leap to changing our stationery and communications in keeping with the plan."

Tristram R. Kidder, acting dean of Tulane College, expressed concern that the attempt to unify the university's image comes at the expense of individual communities that have their identities as well. He added, "No one's trying to erase us, but at this point I'm not sure I understand fully what our opportunities to use our own identity are. It's my general sense, however, that these things will work themselves out."

Cowen called the identity program an evolutionary process, adding, "We want to strike the right balance. We don't want them (schools and colleges) to lose their unique identity, but we want to shift the pendulum a bit to the university's identity."

Carol Schlueter may be reached at

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000