The Story of the Manor Crest
by Peter Smith ‘90
The crest was designed over approximately one year, starting on the day I returned for my Sophomore year to find the official polo shirts for the Manor (designed by that year's president) yellow with a big M on the chest that was the same M as Michigan (our first home game). Men who wore the shirt were thought to be fans or visiting students and in general, it was a disaster. I decided that we needed a more recognizable and unique visual image. I came up with the idea of a crest because of the ones in Morrissey’s lobby (Cambridge college crests on the left of the fireplace and Oxford college crests on the right). So, between then and somewhere in the middle of our junior year (the year of ND's last football national championship, 1988-89), I designed the crest and choose the motto.
The M in the crest is a design taken from a medieval manuscript (a medievalist lived on the fourth floor and was a big help) and by odd coincidence is the same as that used to top the facade (look in the middle of the railing at the top of the middle of the beautifully asymmetric central tower). It was chosen NOT to symbolize Morrissey (the whole thing does that), but the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of the University (I knew that this would be usually misunderstood, but expected it to be a sign of "insider" status to know this, something to be taught in orientation and enforced with the rigor of all socializing tribal dynamics).
The symbols were also chosen (and designed) over time and with debate about each one in a series of hall meetings. The book represents scholarship and is taken from the University’s seal; the dove is for spirituality and was based on a bookmark I was given by my Mom (from James Avery Craftsmen), the winged shoe for athletics (we weren’t that great as a dorm then, but I understand Morrissey has since won several inter-hall sports championships), and the harp for friendship (and it is not-too-subtly a visual reference to Guinness).
The crest that hangs in the first floor lobby is a watercolor executed by Mary Boutote, class of ’90, who was my girlfriend at the time.
The motto was chosen with the help of a graduate student in theology (Paul Holland, S.J.) and is taken from Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity”.