Presented by the heritage room, Del E. Webb Memorial Library
Loma Linda University didn’t get around to expressing itself in motto form until it passed its half-
century mark. That’s understandable when one considers that from its frail beginnings in 1905 the institution struggled several years to determine its purposes and curriculums and to settle on its first name—College of Medical Evangelists (CME).
The process that supplied a motto began with the planning of a year-long observance proposed by the CME administration and supported by the Trustees in a December 3, 1953, action that “the 50th anniversary of CME be celebrated in 1955.” A seven-
member committee was appointed to plan the events and programs. William Frederick Norwood, then CME vice-president and professor of cultural medicine, was chairman of the committee that met regularly throughout 1954.
One of the early actions of this committee was conducting a student-employee contest to suggest ideas for a theme that would “tell the story of CME” for it first fifty years. The contest was held during April 1954, and three prizes totaling $50 were offered. The winning themes would be the basis for the committee’s study and final selection. The winners, all CME employees, were featured in the May issue of The Voice of CME Employees.
Meanwhile, the committee continued its pondering of the appropriate wording for a theme. In July, a new member was added to the committee—Frank A. Moran, associate professor of religion. And not lo
ng thereafter the theme was born! Remembering the process some forty years later, committee member Milton Murray, then coordinator of public relations, clearly recalls that it was Professor Moran who suggested the theme, “To Make Man Whole.” The “CME family” expressed its satisfaction with the phrase and this decision was finalized by the committee in August.
The theme caught on and was used enthusiastically and promoted in a variety of ways in the following months and throughout the year of the anniversary events—on products, in speeches and sermons, as the title of a film, and in journal editorials and articles. “To Make Man Whole” was viewed from a number of perspectives by authors and speakers. It was seen as a “restatement…of the purpose of the College”…as a means of viewing the nature of humankind and the lofty goals of education…as an expression adding dimension to the practice of the healing arts…as suggesting a partnership with the Great Physician.
When did the 50th anniversary phrase cease being a theme and become an official motto? Again, it was a process imperceptible at times, but nevertheless part of a progression of thought and action. Throughout 1956 the phrase was referred to as a theme. However, in 1957, a contest for the creation of a college hymn was launched and submissions were invited. The theme of the hymn announced in the November 1957 Medical Evangelist was “‘To Make Man Whole,’ now regarded as the motto of the College.” This appears to be the first documented mention of the word motto. The lyrics, titled “To Make Man Whole,” by Merilyn Chace, secretary to vice president Keld J. Reynolds, PhD, and the composition by Perry W. Beach, professor of music at La Sierra College, were chosen. The hymn premiered at the vesper service during commencement June 1959.
The October 1959 Medical Evangelist announced a new seal that included a new coat of arms and the words of the 50th anniversary theme, “To Make Man Whole.” Milton Murray editorialized about the use of symbols and explained the need for a new seal: “Some years ago at the College of Medical Evangelists a seal was devised that met the needs of the day. During the last two decades, however, the College has steadily enlarged its scope of interests. New curriculums have been added. Research activity has grown.
“The fiftieth anniversary year of 1955 produced a motto, since adopted for all time. Concepts have evolved that were not included in the initial seal. For these and other reasons it seemed timely to devise a coat of arms and seal that would be meaningful for the latter half of the twentieth century.” Thus the theme had officially become a motto!
There is a postscript to this story. In 2000, the papers and library of Dr. William Frederick Norwood were given to the University library. Among his many books was one by J. B. Phillips titled, Making Men Whole, which had been published in 1952. Dr. Norwood obviously had read it with care because it is heavily underlined. One can surmise that the title was not only familiar to Dr. Norwood but also to some of the other fiftieth anniversary committee members including Frank Moran. One can also surmise that this book title influenced the choice of the 50th anniversary theme which, in turn, became the motto of Loma Linda University.