Telling Muhlenberg's Story More Powerfully
Notes and a presentation on the process by which the College explored the history of Muhlenberg's core values and defining strengths in order to tell our story more powerfully, including a new visual identity grounded more clearly and distinctively in the College's values and proud history.
We've included a brief presentation below and invite you to view our research.
The College has embarked on an exploration of our institution’s core values and defining characteristics with the objective of sharpening the way we communicate about Muhlenberg to the world. In March, we began to meet with Muhlenberg students as part of an immersive research process – a process that continued throughout the spring and summer. We expanded our talks and online surveys to include hundreds of interviews and focus groups with students, decades of alumni, parents from around the country, and Muhlenberg’s staff and faculty – all groups who have called Muhlenberg home.
Additionally, with the generous support of the College’s archives librarian, we looked back through over 150 years of Muhlenberg history, back to our first president, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg. We rediscovered essential elements of our character in his words:
"The object at which the College shall aim, and toward which it shall constantly reach, shall be the securing of the broadest literary and scientific education of the best collegiate institutions, so as to give a thorough general culture and the preparation for all the professions and occupations to which learning is useful.
We do not regard an education as complete that aims only at improving the intellect…No education is complete unless it prepares a man to discharge all his duties properly in this world, and qualifies him for the rewards and employments of eternity. This kind of education contemplates the education of his conscience and the cultivation of his heart…”
President Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg,
Inaugural Address, September 3, 1867
Our founders embraced the belief that our College should be committed to developing exceptional individuals known for their intellect, their compassion, and their aspiration. Muhlenberg today remains committed to these ideals. Throughout the College’s history, our students have gone above and beyond their perceived talents, skills, and objectives to achieve prominence and effect change in whatever professions, interests, and causes they choose to pursue.
But while our character has remained constant, our visual identity has not. Our symbols and colors have been fluid, and changes that may have seemed insignificant at a point in time have led to a growing disharmony. In order to tell our story to the world most powerfully, we require a collective – one Muhlenberg – through which we can speak in unison.
Throughout, our goal has been that a clear and authentic identity would emerge, and I believe one has. It is an identity that is rooted deeply in our history but also looks to the future. Our new visual identity invokes Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, for whom Muhlenberg is named, as it is taken from his signature. Nothing could be a more authentic visual representation of our identity and values. It is with this respect for our past that we move towards our future.
I encourage you to view some of the research uncovered as part of our process. We will continue to issue updates on our progress as we move forward, and we will continue to work with our community.
These initial steps represent the first of many steps forward for our community. I ask you to stand with me as we continue to share our Muhlenberg story more powerfully with the world. It is a story we tell with pride and determination, and it is one that we must tell together.
John I. Williams, Jr.