The story behind the ‘Unity in Diversity’ pin

The story behind the ‘Unity in Diversity’ pin
Graphic Design major John McCarthy designed the "Unity Pin" that would be the centerpiece of the 2016-2017 school year theme for the College of Arts and Sciences.

John McCarthy, a graphic design major, was one of many students to graduate and participate in commencement ceremonies this spring, but he also holds a unique distinction among his peers and the campus community.


He designed the lapel pin seen around campus to help promote the College of Arts and Sciences “Unity in Diversity” theme used throughout this past academic year.


Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Robby Stewart said at commencement, “Diversity is a concept that goes far beyond issues of gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. Diversity also includes such things as problem solving strategies, differential potentials for adaptability, risk taking, negotiation or compromise, and for competencies in various forms of critical thinking. Many successful endeavors are achieved because they were started with teams of people who thought differently, but who learned to respect each other and to work with one another to find solutions.”


Within his design, McCarthy used six gold and ten white shapes arranged on a black background with the words “Unity in Diversity” and “Celebrate the Liberal Arts.” These 16 objects form a pattern to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts and could even represent the 16 departments within the College of Arts and Sciences.


To some people the pin may look like a soccer ball. Others may see a stained glass window. And, by its very design and planning, it is open to countless other images and interpretations.   


As Stewart pointed out to those gathered at commencement, “The important thing is that the parts make a whole that no longer exists if even one part is removed. We are the College, we are diverse and yet we strive to be united as a whole.”


“This year’s graduates are more than names and faces with a college major,” Stewart told the audience. “They are a group united by a foundation in the liberal arts that will serve them well beyond their college years as they venture out into the world seeking their unique career paths.”


Photos of John McCarthy at commencement are courtesy of GradImages.


unity pin