Update on Crusader Imagery

From: Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President of the College
To: Alumni, Students, Faculty and Staff
March 14, 2018

Dear Members of the College Community,

Several weeks ago, our Board of Trustees completed a period of discussion and discernment and, based on thoughtful input from many of you, chose to reaffirm our identity as Crusaders. But our work was not done. At the same time, the Board tasked our administration with assessing all visual representations of the Crusader, to ensure they align with our definition of what it means to be a Holy Cross Crusader. That definition is based on a contemporary understanding of the term, which suggests a noble effort to support a cause, to right a wrong or to make a difference.

As we discussed as a community the appropriateness of our use of the Crusader moniker and mascot, several themes emerged. We are Holy Cross Crusaders for:

  • The importance of the intellectual life, critical thinking and reflective learning.
  • The Jesuit and Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions.
  • The dialogue between faith and reason.
  • The common good, human rights, social justice and care for the environment.
  • Human life.
  • Interreligious understanding and dialogue.
  • Inclusivity and respect for different cultures, perspectives and identities.
  • Honesty, equality, fairness and freedom of speech.
  • Health of mind, body and spirit.

Since the founding of the College, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have embodied these ideals. Our students spend their spring breaks working with the poor and marginalized in Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Appalachia and recent grads generously join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Teach for America and the Peace Corps. Our alumni become teachers, doctors, researchers, government officials, religious and priests, and advocates for the transformation of society through education, social service and business. These are just a few examples of what it means to be a Crusader today.

Upon reflection on this contemporary definition, it is clear that our current visual representations of the Crusader do not align with this understanding. For some, knight imagery alone could convey nobility, chivalry and bravery. However, the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades. This imagery stands in contrast to our stated values.

Over the coming months, the College will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. Moving forward, the College will use the interlocking HC on a purple shield, currently the secondary athletics logo, as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising. This also means we will retire our costumed mascot. I understand these decisions will be a disappointment to some of you but I trust our community’s support for Holy Cross and for our athletic teams will continue unwaveringly.

I want to thank all of you who have participated in this discussion about our identity. These conversations aren’t easy, but they are necessary. I am hopeful we have emerged with an even stronger sense of who we are and what we stand for, and that you all remain as proud as I am to be a part of the Holy Cross community.


Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.