Colonel logo controversy resolved

Christine Lee, News Editor


A high school in Maryland using a logo bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Wilkes colonel logo has removed the design from everything school-related.

The Beacon first reported in 2011 that Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School in Rockville, Md. was using a logo looking exactly like the colonel logo primarily used by Wilkes athletic teams.  The case came to the attention of administrators when wrestling coach Jon Laudenslager visited the high school on a recruiting trip in December 2010.

The discovery led administrators to question whether it was possible they had infringed up on Magruder’s logo. However, an investigation later revealed Wilkes had purchased the sole rights to the logo from New York City-based Phoenix Design Works in 2003.

According to associate vice president of marketing communications and government relations Jack Chielli, after the incident was brought to Wilkes administrators’ attention, a letter and phone calls were sent to Magruder asking them to stop using Wilkes’ logo. Chielli said because the school wasn’t a direct competitor and it wasn’t misusing the logo, it had an unspecified period of time to remove and change the logo.

Magruder Principal Leroy Evans said the situation came as a complete surprise on his part and everyone involved with the school, as no one knew they were infringing on Wilkes’ logo until representative visited the school.

“It took a lot of us by complete surprise,” Evans said.

However, Evans said the school complied with the request from Wilkes and removed the logo from everything school-related.

“We started the process immediately of removing the mascot,” Evans said.

Evans said the school understood fully that it was infringing on Wilkes’ logo and it is designing several new logos.

“We are in the process of creating a new, unique logo,” Evans said. “We hope to have two, one that is business-academic and one for sports.”

Evans said the school is still completing the design with the help of students and faculty. It is also making sure these new logos are authentic.

Chielli said he hasn’t had any communication with Magruder since the formal request was sent to remove the logo. He explained it was important for Wilkes and Magruder to have separate identities to avoid confusion.

“When it comes to university identities such as mascots, it’s pretty difficult to have someone imitate your logo so directly,” Chielli said.

“While there isn’t a great danger that anything could happen there is some confusion or if something should happen at the high school and that particular icon gets splashed all over the national media, people would confuse it with ours, and that’s the main reason for such separate identities.”

Evans said the school did the right thing by removing the logo to avoid any legal proceedings.

“We did the right thing and moved on from there,” Evans said. “There were no legal grounds to fight it.”

Chielli said he is glad the issue was resolved so quickly and in a clear-cut manner.

“I’m just glad it was resolved as amicably as it was,” Chielli said. “I’m glad that they’re getting their own identity mark and wish them the best with it.”