Seniors welcome freshmen at 90th annual Shield Day

When Arielle Abelon ’15 and Nicole Liston ’15 volunteered and put their heads together to create the freshmen class shield this year, they drew on their Dominican experience.

“When I found out they wanted a shield designer, I felt I needed to put my mark on something to show that Dominican really made an impression on me,” says Nicole, a business major and marketing intern at Dominican who is taking Art as a minor. “I really wanted to leave something here before I left DU because I wanted to make a statement that Dominican actually changed my life.”

The Class of 2018 Shield was unveiled November 4 at the 90th Annual Shield Day Gala in Guzman Lecture Hall. Freshman Class Representatives Christina Huynh and Evonji Summers accepted it from Arielle and Nicole.

The ceremony, hosted by Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU), welcomed Dominican alumnae Jessica Frazier ’11 as guest speaker. Matthew Choma, ASDU Senior Class Representative, served as emcee and Dominican seniors performed the alma mater and Dominican spirit songs.

A reception, with refreshments in the shapes of Senior and Freshmen Class shields, followed the ceremony.
Shield Day is a beloved tradition at Dominican. Classes in the 1920s began designing shields in honor of and with elements from the original Dominican Shield to celebrate the Dominican heritage.

Each fall Dominican seniors welcome the Freshmen Class with the gift of an illustrated shield that reflects an inspirational motto.  By custom, the motto helps lead the freshmen throughout their years at Dominican and throughout life.

“It’s your introduction into Dominican. It’s welcoming you and solidifying you as part of this community,” says Arielle, also a business major with a concentration in marketing and minor in leadership. “The shield represents your start. It tells a story of where you are right now and where you are going to be in the end and what principles are going to guide you.”

Originally the shields were created in stained glass renditions until 1961 when the University began to have them carved into wood. All of Dominican’s shields, dating back to the early 1920s, are on display on campus.

Each year a senior is selected to design the shield for the Freshmen Class. With help of classmates and Lauren Castro, Director of Student Activities and Leadership, the student designers incorporate elements from the class shield they received when they entered Dominican.

Utilizing “a build-up of ideas,” Arielle and Nicole designed the Class of 2018 Shield to pass on their wisdom. The freshmen shield features a ring of fire to represent enlightenment, a compass to represent the journey and the hound of St. Dominican.