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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

Collegiate Signs and Symbols at Baylor

— One of the most joyful aspects of residential college life is the opportunity to develop and make use of a wide range of signs and symbols to represent collegiate identity. The most traditional of these—and at the same time the most flexible—is a coat of arms, and a set of recommendations relating to residential college coats of arms is available on the Collegiate Way’s page on residential college life and the annual cycle (3.2.3).

Baylor University recently announced that it will be establishing its first residential college, Brooks College, in the coming months, and today Baylor reports that a coat of arms is being developed for Brooks College.

Brooks Village coat of arms honors former president

April 27, 2006

Students have helped find a way to preserve the legacy of former president Samuel Palmer Brooks in the design of Baylor’s new Brooks College.

A coat of arms symbolizing elements of Brooks’ life and Baylor values will be a prominent feature in the college, to be located in Brooks Village.

Part of the Brooks renovation project is to re-educate people on the life of Samuel Palmer Brooks, said Dr. Frank Shushok, dean for student learning and engagement.

Shushok said the university was involved in the process of developing a coat of arms for Brooks College but wanted to let student residents decide on the official design.

“The coat of arms is a very common element of a residential college,” Larry Hughes, Brooks Residence Hall director said[…].

There are two prominent places where the design will be displayed in the new college, Shushok said. The coat of arms will be incorporated into the stonework of the tower, and it will also be seen on the light fixtures of the great hall, he said.

“The coat of arms will be prominent throughout the building and literature,” Hughes said. Students had a chance to give their input into the design, and many of the elements were pulled from the Campus Living and Learning student advisory board.

The advisory board consisted of sophomores, juniors, seniors, representatives from student government and Brooks Hall residents.

Laredo junior Miguel Romero, chairman of the student advisory board, said Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, the architectural firm, did research on Baylor and Samuel Palmer Brooks and came up with symbolism behind the design.

“(The firm) listened to the advisory board to see if students would think of it the same way or not,” Romero said about the final drafts of the coat of arms.

Focus groups researched Samuel Palmer Brooks and provided information to the firm, Shushok said.

“In the initial designs offered, the cross wasn’t as obvious, and students wanted it to be more prominent,” Shushok said.

He said students also thought the torch was an important symbol of Brooks’ life and needed to be a prominent symbol.

Romero said the advisory board was split between the two designs voted on by Brooks Hall residents.

“There were just a couple of small, subtle differences in the coat of arms designs,” Romero said. “In general, they had the same basic elements to them.”

About half of Brooks Hall residents participated in the voting of the coat of arms, Hughes said.

“I think this will be a great thing that will help add to the personality of Brooks,” Romero said. “When you think of Brooks, you won’t just necessarily think of the building.”

Romero said the legacy of Brooks is important because he was a president who put students first.

“I think the most important thing to remember about him is he was a man who walked in Christ and was all about students and helping them,” Romero said.

Shushok said the coat of arms will give residents of Brooks Village a sense of identity and community.

“Students can tell the story of Samuel Palmer Brooks through the coat of arms, and they can pass his story down to future generations,” Shushok said.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016