The Seal Selection Process

A university seal is not a logo, but an official mark that is used on official insignia, diplomas and other official documents. University seals are often circular in form, with imagery that can be considered representative of the university. The imagery on a seal can be symbolic, scenic, abstract, architectural, or figurative. The University Seal is used in the most formal expressions of the University’s identity and must represent its traditions, culture and aspirations for the future.

The campus seal committee, led by the Division of Equity and Inclusion, worked to develop a submission process for a new seal design that encompassed these distinctive attributes. In October 2019, the seal committee solicited submissions which were due in November 2019 and sought public input after four designs moved forward as part of the process. The four selected designs, chosen by the committee via a blind review, were accompanied by a Statement of Intent by each artist describing their design and how it represents UNM. A fifth design, a commercial seal, was created in 2014 and has served as the University’s interim seal since spring 2017.

A feedback period that offered the campus community the opportunity to rank and provide commentary on the seal designs that were under consideration was the next step in the process. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and New Mexican’s from across the state ranked their preferred seal choices and gave a wide variety of commentary that supported each of the designs presented. The seals were presented to the UNM Board of Regents earlier this spring and again in May when a seal design was selected for modification.

The most popular design had a howling Lobo and the Sandia Mountains in the background, but also received criticism for being too complex. The UNM Board of Regents instead went with the recommendation of the committee's next highest-ranked design. Questions about how the seal would embroider, etch, or emboss were critical considerations in determining the most appropriate design. With that in mind, the UNM Board of Regents chose a more simplified design that would be better reflected on University diplomas and graduation apparel.

The new seal was officially adopted on October 21, 2020, by the Board of Regents, and will be implemented throughout 2021.

"Responding to concerns raised by the Kiva Club, Red Nation and other UNM stakeholders, the Division for Equity and inclusion worked with colleagues across campus to determine an appropriate mechanism for redesigning the new seal, and made recommendations for changing the seal by … replacing it with something more inclusive, aspirational, honoring diversity and defining UNM as an institution of higher education," said Division for Equity and inclusion Vice President Assata Zerai. "I am very proud of the process we executed with the UNM seal committee, which included receiving feedback from 8,089 participants representing our campus, our great state of New Mexico, and alumni throughout the U.S. The UNM Regents took the qualitative and quantitative input from constituency groups into account in making their final decision. We look forward to seeing the new seal on diplomas, hopefully by May 2021."