The University of Miami’s green and orange “U” logo was nearly discarded 29 years ago for a “stylized” fish hook – something not as easily expressed with a hand gesture.
“We said you had to be on LSD to understand what [it] meant,” said Dan Salzverg, a 1980 alumnus and founder of the “Save the U” group on campus.
In 1973, the university’s Athletic Federation, which was the athletic department’s fundraising branch, began planning the new logo. Salzverg said that Peter Zorn, an art professor at the time, was asked by then-university president Henry King Stanford to design a different logo.
Zorn said he spent a summer working with a group of students on the logo, but had no intention of creating a symbol that resembled a fish hook – it just happened, he said. Zorn remembers the new logo appearing on university stationary.
By then, the new symbol was already creating controversy. In 1979, some students, including Salzverg, were strongly against changing the logo. Salzverg organized a group of students who began flooding campus walls with black-and-white “Let’s save the U” flyers.
“It started out as a grassroots effort,” he said. “[But] we saved the U.”
The Miami Herald, the now defunct Miami News and The Miami Hurricane all covered the numerous student protests against the changed symbol, and the administration took notice.
By 1981, Edward “Tad” Foote replaced Stanford and reinstated the “U.”
Salzverg, now a father of two UM students, said he thinks most Hurricane students don’t know the history of the logo.
“People take their U for granted,” he said. “They don’t know what it took [to preserve it].”
Hunter Umphrey may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.