If you haven’t been paying attention, the sports scene at Saint Martin’s University has been on a major upswing over the past few years.
For the first time in history, SMU’s men’s basketball program captured the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season championship this past season before accomplishing another program first by advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division 2 tournament.
Recently, Mikel Smith gave the Saints their first ever national champion after he won the high jump at the NCAA track and field championships in 2016. A second national title followed the very next season for the multiple-time All-American.
Throw in a the success of rising SMU track stars Tyler Cronk and Keshara Romain, who swept the GNAC track and field freshman of the year honors this year; Mickey Walker, a recent selection to the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region baseball team; and Liz Larson, who capped her stellar career by claiming the GNAC championship in the hammer throw, among other SMU accomplishments, and it’s plain to see the Saints are marching on an upward trend.
With the success stories rapidly piling up, it would only make sense the school get itself a new look.
And that’s exactly what happened as the Saints have unveiled a new logo for the first time in some 20 years.
“We had been looking at refreshing the athletics brand for a few years now” said Genevieve Chan, Saint Martin’s vice president of marketing and communications. “With the recent growth and success in our programs, and Saint Martin’s celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2020, now seemed like the perfect time to do this. It was an opportunity to embrace our heritage and share our story.”
The process to update the school’s previous logo started last October with the formation of a committee comprised of a variety of individuals from the university, including students, staff and administrators, along with valuable input from key members of the community and alumni.
“Our alumni had a voice in throughout the process, and it was important for us to consider how our alumni felt about the change and incorporate their feedback into the idea,” said Saint Martin’s University athletic director Bob Grisham. “What has been great is to see and hear are the positive responses.”
With the goal of bringing a fresh look to Saints athletics while at the same time embracing the university’s Benedictine history, SMU has gone away from the previous logo’s simple look and feel with a bolder visual, featuring a Roman Praetorian-style helmet.
“The new brand reflects our University’s history, embodies our Benedictine values, and projects our athletes’ boldness and spirit. The Roman soldier helmet is a nod to our namesake, Saint Martin of Tours, who lived around 300 A.D.,” Chan said. “One winter, Martin, then a soldier, passed a lonely beggar shivering by the road. Martin took his sword, cut his cloak in two, and gave half to the beggar. Later in a vision, the beggar revealed himself to be Jesus Christ. Inspired by this, Martin left the Roman army, became a monk and later a bishop, committed to helping others.
“By choosing the helmet, we hope our Saint Martin’s women and men will always think of Martin on that path where he encountered another person in need, acted out of compassion, and in the process transformed his own life,” Chan said.
According to Grisham, the new logo was “received very enthusiastically by our student athletes, coaches, and athletic department staff as well as the rest of campus.”
Fans can get their first glimpse of the new logo in action on August 22 when the Saint Martin’s men’s soccer team host Pacific Lutheran University. The SMU women’s soccer team will take Saints Field the following day for an exhibition match against Pacific Lutheran University.