“If you step on the School Seal, do you really have to bend down and kiss it?”
That was one of several questions Beasley 2nd graders sent to the Mary Institute archivists as part of a class research project about the School and its community in the Fall of 2019.
Over the past several years, more and more MICDS students, from all divisions, have been exploring the School’s history for various humanities classes and research projects. Even Beasley students expressed curiosity about School traditions, such as not stepping on the School seal, during their MICDS community learning unit. Before the pandemic, our volunteer Mary Institute archivist, Anne Stupp McAlpin ’64, hosted students on tours of the Mary Institute archives and showed them important icons from the School’s history, including the historic MI seal at the entrance to the School’s Danforth Hall, the original Mary Institute building on this campus.
The Class of 1959 presented the seal to the School as its graduation present. One member of the class was Quinta Dunn Scott ’59. Her father, the prominent architect Frederick W. Dunn, agreed to design the seal. As 1959 marked the School’s 100th anniversary, this was a very special gift. Fast forward to 1984, when the Class of 1934 (noted for being Betty Grable’s class) celebrated its 50th Reunion and gifted the School with a restoration of the seal. In the early 2000s the School paid for another redo.
By 2019, however, help was needed! Too much harsh climate and too many feet—large and small—had taken their toll. McAlpin and her archive volunteers knew something had to be done. Funding was obtained from the Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. Foundation. The archivists consulted with Tom Moore of Mackey, Mitchell Architects and Don Musick and Glen O’Harver of Musick Construction Company, in addition to Amy Dove, MICDS Director of Development, Louise Jones, MICDS Director of Alumni Relations, and Bob Jett, MICDS Director of Operations. The collaboration led to a total remake of the seal with only one real change: the addition of one additional color of terrazzo.
Current students should have something to admire and be proud of as they study the School’s vibrant history. Now everything is fresh, bright, and clean. The seal looks almost kissable—but we are not sure we recommend it.
Next time you are on campus, take a stroll to the Middle School campus, walk up the central stairs to the main entrance of Danforth Hall, and look down. Be careful not to step on the seal; it’s a School tradition!