Each Winona State President has proudly worn the Presidential Medallion since it was created in 1967. It is more than the insignia of the office. It is a symbol of a people’s faith in education, in the responsibility of the office and in the guardianship of the University by the State of Minnesota.
Floretta Murray, professor emerita of the Winona State College Art Department, designed the Winona State Presidential Medallion. The 1967-68 students proudly gifted this outstanding work of art to the College.
The symbolism of the medallion lies within the framework of the letters of “Winona State University,” which encircle and bind together the inner symbols. At the center of the medallion is an equilateral triangle, symbolic of science, literature and the arts. Through their unity man will survive. Within the triangle is a circle, depicting the endless movement of education, which represents the world and man, incomplete without knowledge.
At the apex of the triangle, aquamarine is symbolic of the Mississippi River and the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. Topaz on the lower left represents the golden grain of this great state. At the lower right, garnet honors the pioneer citizens of Winona. In 1858 they asked the Legislature to establish an institution for higher education in Winona and, in addition, gave land from the city to provide a place for the University.
The segments outside the triangle are the diamond-set stars, which shine for L’Etoile du Nord, the Star of North, or the State of Minnesota. The trees to the left denote the great forests, while the flowing lines at the triangle’s base symbolize our streams and rivers. The fire of the opal in the link to the chain stands for zeal, supportive of education as a social necessity.
The purple alexandrite in the chain symbolizes the school color and the pride that our students and faculty have for the University. These gems were gifts of the citizens of Winona and Winona State faculty members as a mark of their esteem for the University and its memorable past.