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Duncan crest shows community, individuality

By Tina Ou     1/13/11 6:00pm

After two semesters of consultation and discussion among the Duncan College community, Duncan's crest has been finalized. Symbols include an owl, an oak tree, the letter "D", a sun, and a motto reading "Classis et germanita," - a Latin phrase meaning "Class and Brotherhood" - meant to emphasize Duncan's community aspects.A committee of Duncan students, headed by senior Martha Cox and sophomores Estevan Delgado and Priscilla Leung, was formed last Spring to direct Duncan's new crest design. Cox was the main artist for the crest design, and the official crest was first unveiled on Nov. 19 at Duncan's dedication. According to Delgado, members of the college have already begun to decorate items such as T-shirts, coffee mugs and shot glasses with their newly finished crest.

According to Duncan Master Luis Duno-Gottberg, the committee held open meetings for the students to share their input on the new crest design. He said that while a committee was formed to be in charge of the process, the final crest is a collective project that is the result of the accumulation of the ideas of the Duncan community.

"I'm very impressed with the democratic process and how the students worked together to incorporate their ideas," Duno-Gottberg said. "I sat down and expressed my opinions but as another voice."

Duno-Gottberg said a lot of consultation went into designing the crest, with Delgado, Leung, and sophomores Louise Bentsen, Mecklin Ragan and Kelvin Pho having originally met with the Duncan family in Fall 2009 to discuss what was meaningful to them. Duno-Gottberg said the oak tree planted by Charles Duncan ('47), founder of Duncan College, in front of Duncan Hall inspired the oak tree symbol that surrounds the Duncan shield on the crest.

Duno-Gottberg was the inspiration for the college's motto, which was originally in Spanish: "Somos equipo. Somos familia," meaning "We are a team. We are a family." Delgado said Duno-Gottberg wrote these words in an e-mail to Duncan students following a Duncan student's injury during the college's first Beer Bike event. According to Delgado, the quote was very popular among the Duncan students and eventually was paraphrased and translated into Latin to become the final motto for the crest.

Duncan sophomore Abby Corrington said one of her favorite parts of the crest is the motto. She said the motto embodies the teamwork aspect of Duncan. Her main concern for the crest during the designing process had been that the motto should be in Latin rather than the original Spanish.

"The Duncan crest, and especially the motto, represents what Duncan is and has been, but it's up to the students to uphold that theory,"Corrington said. "Upholding that theory is a great and rewarding journey to be part of."

Delgado said the final design is the fourth main design by students. The crest design undertook drastic changes with the influx of new freshmen students and transfer students from other residential colleges, he said.

"It wasn't just our class anymore," Delgado said. "As it moved from being a freshmen project to being a college project, we realized we had to incorporate everybody's ideas. The ideas got better as everyone got involved."

Cox said that at first the committee was looking at a traditional crest with symbols such as a knight's helmet, but that the ideas evolved into new designs and new symbols that are a modern take on a crest. She said she personally wanted the letter "D" to be an original font and also wanted to include an image of the Duncan College building with the sun; both are included in the final crest.

"I saw the building as the canvas on which the Duncan culture was painted," Cox said. "It's such an iconic building that people think of it when they think of Duncan."

Duncan freshman Michelle Hanggi said she thought the Duncan crest was unique compared to other college crests.

"Over the past year, what Duncan has come to represent is embodied in the crest. There's a lot in Duncan about the environment and being eco-friendly," Hanggi said. "There's also the idea of family and how we can create ourselves to be what we want to be."

According to Duno-Gottberg, the process of designing the crest has also been the process of constructing the Duncan community. He said he does not want to define Duncan in solid terms yet and mentioned that the image of a tree is very apt for the college: Just as a tree grows from the roots up, the college is still growing from students' collaborative efforts.

duncan crest

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