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Texas A&M University regents approve new seal with little discussion; Aggies speak out in protest via social media

Texas A&M University regents approve new seal with little discussion; Aggies speak out in protest via social media

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The official Texas A&M University System and flagship school seals received new centerpieces during Wednesday's Board of Regents meeting in College Station.

Regents unanimously approved alteration of the 52-year-old seals without discussion by replacing the "T Star" logo with the "Block TAM" logo in an effort to streamline the system and flagship school's brand identity. In a message, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said the seal change will enhance the visibility of the system and the school.

"When you talk about brand identity, having that 'Block TAM' is something that brings it all together," Sharp said. "That change makes it very obvious when you see it, where you are and what you're talking about, that it's Texas A&M and the Texas A&M System."

A&M spokesperson Shane Hinckley said the seal updates are the result of a collaborative effort between marketing and communications divisions at university and system levels that began six months ago. At the university level, the white "T Star" logo is only used by the office of the president and mostly appears on diplomas and fine gifts. At the system level, the maroon "T Star" is used by system office employees, the office of the chancellor and the board of regents and is mostly used for materials such as letterhead and business cards. Changing the "T Star" allowed for fulfillment of the "one brand" approach to reach optimum brand recognition inside and outside Texas A&M.

"There's a lot of brand equity that's built into the 'Block TAM' mark that has achieved worldwide recognition," Hinckley said.

The agenda seal change item submitted by the system marketing and communications office states the change will take place gradually through "normal obsolescence" unless the sitting chancellor identifies an area as a priority. The item also states that current seal usage on the interior and exterior of buildings, doors and vehicles will remain unchanged and will be replaced with the updated seal as necessary. Hinckley noted the seal will not be changed on the diplomas for this year's graduates.

So far, the seal change has received some negative online reception, which includes a petition on change.org asking to return the seal to its original state.

Wednesday's meeting was directed under new leadership. Former regents vice chair Cliff Thomas was elected as chair and Elaine Mendoza was elected as vice chair. Thomas replaces former chair Phil Adams, who was appointed to a third term by Gov. Greg Abbott.

"I am honored to serve as chairman and delighted to have the opportunity to give back to the university that means so much to me and has shaped my life in so many ways," Thomas said in a press release.

The board also conducted business with two new Abbott-appointed regents. Bob Albritton, son of former regent Ford Albritton and Bill Mahomes reflected on their past experiences at A&M and were welcomed by an audience that included incoming president Michael Young. Albritton said he became familiar with regents operations when his father played a role in welcoming women into the university. "It was kind of fun to sit back and listen to it and watch it," Albritton said. "It gives an insight exactly what the Board of Regents is and how serious sometimes their business can be."

Regents passed resolutions thanking interim president Mark Hussey and student regent Colton Buckley. Chancellor Sharp thanked Hussey for allowing the search committee and regents to conduct a successful search for a president.

Pamela Matthews, who has served as the interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, received approval from regents to lead the college full-time effective immediately. Matthews first arrived at the school in 1989 and said she stayed because of the school's commitment to the land-grant mission.

"I have spent my entire academic career as a faculty member and administrator at Texas A&M University. I have stayed because of this university's dynamism and its active commitment to our dual missions as a land-grant institution and a research university," Matthews said. "We get things done at Texas A&M, and that positive, can-do attitude suits me well."

Regents also approved namings of the exterior columns to Kyle Field and Flag Room in the Memorial Student Center. School officials did not say whose names will be dedicated on the structures and did not provide any additional details on the agenda items. Naming opportunities were approved without discussion from regents.

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