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Last Updated: Oct 28, 2014 URL: http://libguides.govst.edu/GSUhistory Print Guide RSS Updates

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Sarah Wegley joined Governors State University staff in 2004 and has worked in Digital Library Services since 2008. She is the metadata specialist for the University Library's Digital Collections and the GSUVault.

Mrs. Wegley created this guide using primary resource materials in the Digital Collections, the GSUVault, and the University Archives. All source materials are noted for those who wish to do further research.

Please note this guide is a work in progress and will include additional pages over time. Please contact her with any questions.

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School Colors

The official school colors were black and white until 2011 when orange and gray accents were added when GSU adopted a new logo. This guide will use black/white throughout the other pages in keeping with the historical theme.

Source: GSU View September 2011 press release

See the GSU symbol box at right for information about the GSU logo and the GSU seal.

 

University Name

Governors State University was chosen as the name for Illinois' newest university in order to honor all those men, past, present and future, who render service to the people of the State of Illinois while holding the highest governmental office - that of Governor.

Text Source: Governors State University 1971 Bulletin p. 4

Images of the Illinois governors (Shadrach Bond through George Ryan) are displayed in the university's Hall of Governors. The video below shows these portraits.

 

The governors' images have been on display since the dedication service of April 20, 1975. Photos from the Hall of Governors were included in the Dedication of Governors State University program book on p. 15.

The idea for displaying the likenesses of the governors originated with J. Orme Evans of the firm of Evans-Mills-Gardner, GSU architects. The bronze relief plaques were designed and executed by Spanjer Bros. who employed an unusual technique resulting in the interesting textured surface and chiseled look which characterize the portraits. The likenesses were taken from old photographs and historical portraits from the State of Illinois archives in Springfield.

Text Source: Innovator February 3, 1975 p. 4

 

The GSU Symbol: What Does It Represent?

Original ink drawing of the GSU symbol 
found in the University Archives

An early description of its meaning:

The seal of Governors State University is multisymbolic. Many people see the circle as being characteristic of the "never-ending" range of knowledge, its "quality of infinity" and the "unity of thought and spirit." The three points of the star emerging from the circle may symbolize for some the need of a university to extend teaching, research, and service to individuals, communities, and nations. Conversely, the flow of the same lines inward may represent community influences upon the university. All in all the seal should be symbolic of "growth" and "exploration" in step with the historic event of 1969 (year of the founding of Governors State); space exploration and lunar landing. The official colors of the university are black and white.

Text source: 1971 Bulletin (back cover text)
Image Source: University Seal and Logo History 

A later description of its meaning:

The three sides of the “triangle” symbolize the university’s teaching, research, and community service functions. The three lines visually suggest the shape of a rocket, reminding us both that the university was founded within days of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon and that the university is a hope-filled, pioneering community, committed to a better future for all men and women. The circle symbolizes the fact that the university is, indeed, a community. Finally, the fact that the tips of the triangle reach beyond the circle indicates the university’s outreach into the region, state, and nation and its commitment to teaching, research, and community service.

Text Source: Celebrating the Installation of Elaine P. Maimon, Ph.D as Fifth President of Governors State University Installation Program Booklet November 3, 2007 p. 24

What is the Difference Between the University Logo and the University Seal?

The university logo visually represents the Governors State University and includes both the university name and the triad element (circle and concave triangle design). The university seal is the most formal symbol of the university. The seal may only be used on formal and ceremonial university documents or forms from the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, or Board of Trustees. Examples include diplomas, official certificates, executive invitations, limited commencement materials, and legal documents.

GSU logo in colorUniversity Seal

 

 

For information on the appropriate use of the logo and the seal of Governors State University, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Text and image source: Office of Marketing and Communications webpage on the GSU website.   

 

Additional historical resources:

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