Chaminade University of Honolulu is one of a kind when it comes to a school logo: It is one of only three universities in the National Collegiate Basketball Association (NCAA) to be named after vegetation.
It is no surprise that CUH is the only school in the country to have a silversword as its school logo, though. (Note: CUH does not have a mascot.) The plant only grows on the upper slopes of the 9,700-foot Haleakala mountain on Maui.
Henry Gomes, the Associate Provost and ethno botanist at Chaminade, explained the decision of the silversword as our mascot: "It was chosen because it is only found in the House of the Sun [Haleakala] and it represents the glory of God in a lofty place. When in bloom it is bursting with color as if afire."
Gomes added, "Brother Becker, an English professor emeritus, choose the plant. Bro. Becker also wrote the Chaminade alma mater."
In September 2007, there was a competition among students at CUH to create a new logo for the Athletic Department. The winner received $500 dollars cash and a trip to the Maui Invitational.
Gomes said, "We have a greensword [a cousin of the silversword] growing on campus by the library. Not as spectacular as the ‘ahinahina [an endangered plant growing on Haleakala but also Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island]. I really like the Athletics Department's current modernization of the more traditional symbol."
The logo was designed to resemble the Mystical Rose Oratory, the center of Chaminade campus life. It is a place for worship, Christian fellowship and to nurture a growing relationship with God and mankind.
“I think the choice is a good one in terms of the spiritual kaona (Hawaiian for the symbolic meaning) of the sword as a symbol of justice and peace. The fact the plant only grows on Haleakala is also symbolic of the loftiness of objectives and goals," Gomes explained.