Students given secret design project

Oct 23, 2012 No Comments by

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.—It is a long standing tradition at Dominican University of California, that each Senior class is presented with a shield.

Displayed in several locations on campus, they represent the graduating class in perpetuity (some date back to the 1920s.)

The shield for the class of 2016 is currently being designed, and will remain shrouded in secrecy until the unveiling before graduation day.

Senior Jessica McKean, a fine arts major, longed for the opportunity to design the 2016 shield.  Taking initiative, she  asked Paul Raccanello, the Associate Dean of Student Life, who oversees the project for the job.  She was immediately granted her wish, and has been hard at work ever since.

According to McKean, it is not always an Art major who designs the shield. Some years there just isn’t a Senior who is up to the task. McKean knew she wanted to design a shield herself, even before transferring to Dominican from Diablo Valley College.

She feels this is her unique way to leave her mark on the University. “It’s a great tradition to have,” said McKean.  “And I’m a huge fan of traditions.”


“It’s a great tradition to have, and I’m a huge fan of traditions.”

— Jessica McKean, Senior Art major


(Photo/Alicia Stein Photography)
Senior Fine Arts Major Jessica McKean hard at work in the San Marco art building, Sunday Sept. 23, 2012. McKean was awarded the job of creating the 2016 class shield.

McKean is very confident that she can handle the assignment, and wants to create a piece of art that will stand out as the years pass.

For added input, she enlisted the help of  Senior Lindsey Bright, another fine arts major. Bright wanted to be a part of the project when she heard about it in her freshman year at Dominican.

One could easily imagine the battles between two artists over a single design.  However, McKean does not foresee this being a problem. “I like working with people,” she said. “Lindsey is better at drawing certain things, so it actually works out.”

For inspiration, McKean and Bright studied all the shields on display around campus (Caleruega Hall, Meadowlands Hall, and Guzman Hall). Because of the traditional secrecy surrounding the shield, neither artist can share details about their design concept.

Currently in the later stages of the approval process, the shield won’t be professionally carved in wood until the Class of 2016 is ready to graduate.


“It goes through my head a lot. I think about the shield even when I’m not trying to.’’
— Jessica McKean, Senior Art major


Both Bright and McKean have very busy schedules this year. They have only been able to meet once every other week to put pen and brush to paper in their design process. However, the two think about the shield constantly. “It goes through my head a lot,” McKean said, “I think about the shield even when I’m not trying to.”

Campus, theBuzzz

About the author

Brian Sanchez is a senior Communications and Media Studies major at Dominican University of California with an emphasis on Sports Broadcasting. When he isn't broadcasting sports for Dominican University on radio.dominican.edu he is writing about them. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to join The Habit in time to be a part of the launch of the web edition of the student newspaper. He hopes to cover all things Dominican to the best of his abilities and use that to land a job covering sports for a career after he graduates. It doesn't matter what sport or where, but his ultimate goal is to end up back in the bay area covering the teams he grew up watching.
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