An Ode to the Clock Tower

The UCU Alumni Office has a new logo

In a competition for the landmarkiest landmark on campus, I think the clock tower would win out against College Hall, even despite its modest height. Anyone visiting the campus notices the tower and its two slightly finger-wagging messages: 'Rust Roest' and 'Tijd Slijt'. 

Towers are a symbol of progress, of applying or even asserting oneself. Well-built towers rise above the rest—so much so in fact, that they own the verb: towers tower. Towers show pride in achievement, they might even exude power. They are both more visible to and have more visibility on their immediate environment. 

Leaving college and stepping into that complicated 'real world' means walking a tightrope between outward ambition and inner, structural sanity. It's good to show the world who you are and what you can do, but mind yourself and don't overstep, lest you want to become an example of human folly. Many moralistic stories involve hubris: fly too close to the sun and your wings will melt. Towers shouldn't tower too much, or they'll topple over.

UCU's clock tower, like its alumni, walks that balance: it's eye-catching but not too pompous, pointed but not too sharp. Its inscriptions assert that "rest will rust you" but anyway, "time creates wear and tear". In other words: reach upward and keep momentum, but don't make the mistake of thinking you transcend any of the shortcomings that define us mortals. It reminds us not to lose track of ourselves in trying to achieve our goals, to find that sweet spot between rooted and lofty.

Anyway, blah blah blah, here's the new Alumni Office logo. I hope you like it!

- Thijs van Himbergen '03