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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

College highlights core values through redesigned banners

Each year, Saint Mary’s reflects on one of the College’s core values — faith/spirituality, learning, community and justice — through banners displayed around campus. This year, the banners have received a major face-lift to celebrate the core value of justice.

Core values banners line the sidewalks at Saint Mary's, giving students a chance to admire the updated designs.

Interim vice president for mission Molly Gower led the effort to redesign the banners and explained why the change from displaying photos of students to the current designs was significant.

The banners are redesigned each year, Gower said. This year, we decided to showcase illustrations rather than photographs. In an age of social media, with photographs all around us, illustrations seem special.

Gower noted that the core values reveal the College’s priority to welcome people from all walks of life.

The core value banners are one way that we tell ourselves and the world who we are and what we care about, she said. The Catholic faith of the Sisters of the Holy Cross led them to build Saint Mary’s to be a place where different kinds of persons learn together so that we can love and serve the world together.

Gower stated that artist Heather Schieder designed this year’s set of banners. According to Schieder’s website, she is from western New York and her art focuses on social justice, mental health and culture, as well as whimsical designs.

Gower also noted how Schieder used details from the College to influence her designs.

The core values banners are also available to view when people walk through Le Mans Hall.

The banners are specific to our place, Gower said. The banner with the dove and stars is Heather Schieder’s interpretation of some elements of the Church of Our Lady of Loretto. It shows the Holy Spirit descending surrounded by stars. It is inspired by a particular part of a mosaic at Loretto. The doves that appear on two banners are inspired by the doors into the Church of Our Lady of Loretto.

Gower said the banner depicting angels was inspired by the two on either side of the Holy Spirit Chapel in Le Mans Hall.

Reflecting on the banner which portrays several fists raised in the air, Gower said the design originated from iconography from the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The banner with fists raised was the first banner that we envisioned together, she said. It includes representations of the Sacred Heart. One, in particular, is inspired by the traditional pendant of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Detailing the College’s relationship with Schieder, Gower acknowledged the collaboration between her and College leaders.

We have admired Heather Schieder for years, Gower said. "We are delighted that she agreed to work with us. We had a series of conversations together. Heather, Redgina Hill — vice president for inclusion and equity — and I were in conversation throughout the summer about the illustrations.

Gower said she is excited Schieder will continue to design the other three core values banners in the future.

We are delighted that the artist, Heather Schieder, has agreed to work with Saint Mary’s College in the years ahead, Gower said. She has agreed to illustrate our core values over the next three years so that we will have a complete series of her illustrations of our core values.

Speaking about continuing the mission of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Gower described the ultimate purpose of the banners — to honor diversity in the College community.

The Sisters of the Holy Cross founded us to be a college committed to learning, faith/spirituality, community and justice, Gower said. These commitments lead us to see diversity as good and to be inclusive and welcoming.