Facta non verba
A “Journey” can sometimes take you places you never imagined.
“Does UMES have a motto?,” someone asked during a meeting of campus leaders at the start of the 2012 spring semester.
About as close as anyone could come was: “Hawk Pride. Catch It.”
But that’s a slogan. And slogans often change.
The question gnawed at Kimberly Dumpson, UMES’ Alumni Affairs director.
Dumpson stages a pep rally in the Tawes’ gym on the Saturday of homecoming weekend and was scouting the venue for the 2012 edition when something on the floor of the lobby caught her eye.
Set prominently in the terrazzo just inside the front doors, where thousands have trod since the venerable building opened in 1965, is a circular maroon-and-gray emblem emblazoned with:
- Maryland State College - 1886; the institution’s name from 1948 until 1970.
- An image of the school's mascot, a red-tailed hawk.
- And three Latin words: facta non verba.
Translation: Deeds, not words
No one is sure how long facta non verba has been the institution’s motto, or who was responsible for choosing it.
Some of the school’s oldest records, when it was known as Princess Anne Academy, show Latin was taught as a subject -- because the classical language was what well-educated people studied.
That the motto in the Tawes' lobby dates to the John T. Williams era (1947-1970) suggests the strong-willed president, who is credited with transforming the institution into a respected four-year college, might have had a hand in the decision.
It certainly represents what he stood for: Deeds, not words.
-- BILL ROBINSON