New Seal Embraces College Mission
Last month, the SFCC District Board of Trustees approved a new seal that will be an official symbol of the college. It will be imprinted on student transcripts, displayed on certain signs, and printed in many publications. We plan to use this seal as of July 1, 2012. Artist Keith Goodson designed this new seal with great attention to symbolism that reflects our mission, purposes, and institutional core values. Let me explain the meaning of the various design elements.
The wavy lines symbolize a flame as if from a torch, something considered as a source of illumination, enlightenment, guidance, and leadership. As three lines, they represent the three counties within the service district of the college. They wrap around seven lines which resemble the fluted block that is an important architectural feature of the buildings on the college campuses. The flame lines extend beyond the borders of the inner circles to symbolize going beyond and exploring.
The seven vertical lines extending through the flame resemble columns, both individually and as a whole, and this represents the columnar architectural feature common on each campus. Columns symbolize fortitude and constancy. It is a metaphorical heraldic device, implying that it bears a great weight. The lines all point upwards representing the seven purposes or pathways to excellence included in the College Mission. The break in the circular line towards the bottom of the columns creates the image of a tree and its root system which provides nourishment. The College Mission, with its seven purposes, is firmly rooted in our institutional core values.
The flame coils around the column like a serpent coils around a staff as in a caduceus, a symbol of wisdom with fortitude. Additionally, the three curved lines originating in the core values embrace the columns representing the seven purposes in the College Mission.
The particular shape is called a heater shield, a neologism or a new word, created by Victorian antiquarians due to the shape’s resemblance to a clothes iron. A shield is a symbol of pride or confidence as communicated in the College Vision: Enriching our communities through education . . . one life at a time.
The top of the shield represents the capital of a column. It is symbolic of education as a support for human development and increasing human potential. It also completes the seven-line column on the left. The cap of the shield and its two sides resemble, in a rather abstract way, the façade of the porte cochere of the Theatre of the Performing Arts, stressing the importance of cultural enrichment for our communities.
Within the shield is an image of the Earth, centered on Florida. The image is not tilted on its axis like typical images of our planet. Instead, north is straight up, making the Earth like a compass providing direction. It also lends balance to the design. Furthermore, it is an image of the Earth, not of an artificial globe. The angle of the sun indicates that it is the summer solstice, with the path of the sun passing almost directly overhead providing the most sunlight on the college of any day of a year. Light represents enlightenment and learning.
Just below the Earth are two branches of Sandhill Wireweed with flowers, a scrub plant endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge in Florida and found along the Wildflower Wayside Shrine Trail on the Highlands Campus. At the base of the Sandhill Wireweed, the stems turn into writing quills.
Within the shield is an open book resting on the lower angled sides of the shield. Books are a source of knowledge and hold wisdom. It is an iconic symbol of education and learning. The placement of the book in the design connects this new seal to the original seal of the college.
COLLEGE NAME AND INSTITUTIONAL CORE VALUES
The new name of the institution, South Florida State College, boldly circles the seal. Two mortarboards with tassels representing before and after graduation are located on either side of the seal. Inside this outer ring and surrounding the central element are the seven institutional core values: integrity, service, community, learning, excellence, accountability, and responsibility. They are separated by live oak leaves and listed in order, starting from the intersection of the lines of the flame and the inner circle creating the acronym – ISCLEAR. The core value – Excellence – is at the highest point of the circle centered under the name of the college and above the Earth. To the right side of the shield, the circle surrounding the overall design widens to give balance to the other side of the design. A relatively large open area to the right of the shield represents that which is not yet known or is yet to be discovered, the place where students may apply the knowledge and skills gained through their educational experience at the college.
Below the shield and centered between its point and the inner ring is the year of the founding of the college in Roman numerals. Most people do not readily interpret such symbols, but those who are motivated take the necessary time and effort to figure it out, to ascertain its meaning. They feel some small measure of joy in learning something and satisfying their curiosity. In a much more profound way, individuals who dedicate considerable time, talent, and effort to pursue a higher education are rewarded in countless ways they cannot possibly imagine. The breaking of the secret code that obscures the date of the founding of the college symbolizes our continuing desire to learn.