Each Thursday we dedicate Liggett Life to our alumni, who are such an important part of life at Liggett.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that there are a lot of people connected to our school, who do not know as much about the history of University Liggett School as we do in the Alumni Office. I received a great question a while back on Facebook about our alumni crest, and why it includes such intricate artwork. That is a wonderful question, but challenging to answer in a quick post on Facebook, as the explanation involves 135 years of history.
The alumni crest was designed in 2010 to incorporate the four distinct predecessor schools that make up University Liggett School. Each individual piece of artwork on the crest is the logo of one of those predecessors. I thought it would be fun to share a bit about each in this week’s blog post. So, here it goes!
The logo seen on the upper left of the crest is the original logo of the Liggett School. The Liggett School is the oldest of our predecessors dating back to 1878. The school was founded by the Rev. James D. Liggett and originally called the Detroit Home and Day School. He opened the school with the full support of his family. The Rev. Liggett was the principal, daughter Ella taught math, daughter Frances taught science and English, and daughter Jeannette directed the primary school and drawing classes. The school was founded as a school for girls, although with the need being great, admitted boys for the first few years. Only one boy, Harry T. Lincoln, ever graduated from the Liggett School. The school remained in Detroit until the 1960s when it built the Briarcliff campus in Grosse Pointe Woods. Several years later, in 1969-70, it combined with Grosse Pointe University School to form University Liggett School.
The logo in the upper right is that of Detroit University School or DUS. This school was founded in 1899, and is the second oldest predecessor school. It was originally a school for boys. The school was first housed on Elmwood in Detroit, and later on Parkview Drive after a fire in the original building in 1916. It was the building that DUS moved into in 1916 that led to our current school mascot, the Knight. The building on Parkview was an unusual one that featured cone-shaped towers, and thus was affectionately dubbed the Castle. As a result the young charges were called the Knights! DUS moved to the current University Liggett School campus in 1929 and later combined with Grosse Pointe Country Day School to create Grosse Pointe University School.
The lower left logo on the crest is that of Grosse Pointe Country Day School, or CDS. This school opened in 1915 and was established as a co-ed institution to serve the growing population of the Grosse Pointes. At the time there were no private, primary or secondary schools in the Grosse Pointe area, so the need was great. The school was first housed temporarily in a white frame home at 301 Roosevelt and then moved to a building specially built on Grosse Pointe Boulevard. The school first enrolled 50 students and later saw a huge growth in the kindergarten and primary school.
Finally, the lower right logo, is that of Grosse Pointe University School, which was founded when DUS and CDS combined in 1953. The new school, GPUS, was housed in our current building with an expansion designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki. Yamasaki later won national recognition for the design. The school opened as GPUS for the 1954 school year as a co-ed institution. The first year was a bumpy one as many aspects of the building were still in progress. Students ate lunch in the library, and there were no sidewalks. GPUS thrived however under the leadership of a new headmaster John Chandler, Jr. The school remained GPUS until it combined with the Liggett School in 1969-1970.
So, these four distinct and impressive schools finally blended together to make University Liggett School in 1970. It draws from the strengths of each of these previous institutions. We felt it was only fitting our alumni crest represent this rich and varied history, and there you have it!
Alumni Relations Manager