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CMU seal

CMU seal: An iconic origin story

Campus landmark is family’s point of Central Michigan University pride

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

​Even the Central Michigan University seal on Warriner Mall has a story.

It's rooted in three generations of CMU Chippewas that started in 1953 with Lyman "Pete" Ketzler, continued with his daughter Kristin Ketzler, '86, and carries on today with his granddaughter, CMU sophomore Molly Kenely.

Before the 1990s, the seal was located at the north end of Warriner Mall, near Bellows Street.

The story opened when President Charles Anspach picked then-sophomore art student Pete Ketzler to take images of the state of Michigan, the lamp of wisdom, the founding date and the university motto and create a design.

The State Board of Education approved his design in 1954. A sign featuring the seal was placed at the north end of Warriner Mall, near Bellows Street, that year. It was there until about 1990, when the seal was placed on a monument next to the flag pole on the mall.


The seal today is used on all official documents and diplomas, in addition to serving as the iconic backdrop for countless informal graduation photos — including, no doubt, at the Fall 2017 Commencement ceremonies coming up Dec. 16.

Ketzler, at age 83, returned to campus in the fall from his Howell, Michigan, home to watch his granddaughter perform as a member of the Marching Chippewas color guard.

Naturally, he visited the seal he created.

"I'm humbled. I never could have imagined there would be that much interest and love of that design and what it means to the people who want to get their pictures taken in front of it," he said.

Pete Ketzler’s granddaughter Molly Kenely is a member of the Marching Chippewas color guard.

Ketzler's granddaughter remembered a time when her parents —­­­ her father, Don Kenely, also is a CMU alum — brought her and her sister to visit campus.

"They took us to the CMU Bookstore, and they said we could pick out any shirt we wanted," Molly Kenely said, "as long as it had the seal on it."

No wonder she swells with pride for CMU and her family, especially her grandfather, each time she walks by the seal.

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