“Sidestepping the seal really simply boils down to a show of respect, akin to putting your hand over your heart during the national anthem, or removing your cap when you walk indoors,” Ron Nirenberg ’99, Trinitonian
E Tribus Unum. “From Three, One.” Trinity’s old motto, reminiscent of the University’s Presbyterian roots, borders the image of sunshine beaming from a book. The traditional seal graces the walkway before Northrup Hall and is protected by a terrible curse: students who step on the seal, as the suspicion goes, will not graduate in four years.
Although the seal and motto have been around since Tehuacana, this particular custom began in 2004 as a simple suggestion by Bryan Henderson, president of the Association of Student Representatives. Henderson’s modest proposal launched a campus-wide debate that lasted weeks. Some students felt the new tradition was too stuffy and artificial; when the Trinitonian asked for other suggestions for traditions, one student proposed “walking on the seal every time you pass it.” Others sided with Henderson’s effort to enrich Trinity’s school spirit, saying that the choice to sidestep the seal is just common respect for the University. History sides with the victors: the custom of stepping around the seal has solidified, especially thanks to the warnings of O-Teamers while giving first-years their campus tours.