January 28, 2011
The Board of Governors has approved a change to the policy on what is arguably the institution’s most important image – the official seal – to save a lot of people a lot of trips between campus and Innovation Place.
Lea Pennock, university secretary and keeper of the official seal, explained the seal “is both the thing created and the device used to create it.” When the board first approved the seal policy in 2005, all duplicate devices were destroyed and the secretary was given responsibility for the one remaining seal and its use. Any documents that required the seal had to be brought to the secretary’s office for sealing.
“Only certain people are authorized to affix the seal,” said Pennock. “In effect, I am deputizing those people.” They included employees in the registrar’s office, Corporate Administration, Research Services and the Industry Liaison Office (ILO). Of those, only the registrar is allowed to use an electronic version of the seal for degree parchments.
Pennock said tight control of the seal is essential “as it lends a certain gravitas. Its use is limited to certain official documents of both a corporate and an academic nature authorized by the board or Council. It is really an attestation of authenticity.”
The policy revision approved in December stems from the ILO’s 2008 move to new offices at Innovation Place. One of the biggest users of the device, sealing 30-40 documents per month, the ILO petitioned for a duplicate seal device, still under the supervision of the secretary, that would eliminate the inconvenience of trips back and forth to the secretary’s office in the College Building.
“The ILO is effectively on a different campus,” said Pennock, “so issuing a duplicate seal addresses the combination of distance and frequency of use.” She added the ILO will follow the protocols already established for recording documents to which the seal is affixed.