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So far, the University of Debrecen has had no coat of arms of its own. Although some of the faculties have created on for themselves but, as individual institutions, they used the classic logo with the gerundium-s. A couple of years ago, a group of students decided to propose and design a coat of arms they considered worthy of the past and present of the university.
“About 3 or 4 years ago, a fellow student, Balázs Pauliczky, had an idea about how we should create a coat of arms for the university, and we actually prepared a design for that way back then. However, this design ended up in a drawer for several years. Following a series of long negotiations, we looked at it again last year and revised it on the basis of a variety of opinions and suggestions,” said Attila Hamar, Vice-President of DEHÖK [Student Self-Government of the University of Debrecen].
Right from the beginning of the planning stage, the chief point of departure has been the great seal of Református Kollégium [Reformed College], which is shaped like a coat of arms with a motive of an open book inside. This has been used partly to refer back to the institution that is the legal predecessor of the university. At the same time, it has also been complemented with further motives used as allusions to Debrecen, the university, and European values.
“The mythical phoenix is one of the emblematic creatures associated with Debrecen, while the chevron-shaped rafter image is traditionally used as a symbol of intellectual hotspots, like universities, but, at the same time, it also functions as a reference to the tympanum featured in the architecture of the main building of the university,” said Attila Hamar.
The design was accepted and approved first by the deans in March and then by the Senate in April. The approved coat of arms then had to be simplified to an extent that made it possible to use it on promotional items. And by now, as of the beginning of this summer, the university gift shop, located in the ground floor of main building, has been offering a variety of logo-emblazoned T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and pens, as souvenirs and gifts.
Attila Hamar underlined that the designing team had envisioned a logo that would be simultaneously modern and contemporary, while it could also convey stability and reliability at the same time. At the opening of the University Staff Day, Rector Zoltán Szilvássy and Chancellor Zoltán Bács were both wearing a green T-shirt of this kind when they took the stage to address the crowd.
At universities in English-speaking countries, it has been a tradition for some time that students often items of clothing that display the logo or the emblem of their institution of higher education. There are also more and more examples of this trend at some universities in Hungary, too. The promotional items bearing the coat of arms of the University of Debrecen were first presented to the public at the event called University Staff Day (the Hungarian moniker for which is DErbi), which was held in June. The first reactions and feedback seem to be positive but we need to wait and see how popular it might become and how the students will be able to identify with this initiative in the long run.
A solid and uniform institutional image has long been a practice internationally, for which reason the University of Debrecen would also wish to express its unity through the new elements of corporate imagery, including the coat of arms and the logo. It is hoped that these symbolic representations may be able to forge an even stronger community comprising the students, faculty and staff of the University of Debrecen. The next important milestones in the process of introductory marketing will be the freshers’ camp and the event called yoUDay.