Father Lucas Designs Compass, Provides Campus Aesthetic

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Fr. Lucas designed the compass rose which leads to important places on campus.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn
Fr. Lucas designed the compass rose which leads to important places on campus. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Another aesthetic aspect to add to the bedazzled phoenix displayed in Harney Plaza is the compass rose, a design that adorns the pavement between Phelan Hall and the Market cafeteria.  Like the phoenix, this emblem was also planned and designed by Fr. Tom Lucas, S.J., an art and architecture professor.

Lucas explained that he adapted the design from ancient models as the compass rose has appeared on nearly every map throughout history.

The eight points of the design indicates all important points of direction: north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest. Lucas said, “The eight-pointed star is set into a circle, the most universal symbol of infinity.”  Legacy Pavers, a Santa Rosa-based pavement and design company, donated their time and materials to create the compass rose. The company finished the work in two days in late September.

When asked why the walkway between Phelan Hall and the cafeteria was chosen, Lucas said, “It marks one of the most used and important crossroads on the campus: with points that lead us to nourishment (Cafeteria for food, church for spiritual nourishment); to intellectual pursuits (classrooms and library), to living and social situations in the dorms, but also points us out to the city and the world and universe beyond: to downtown SF to the east, to the great expanse of the Pacific to the west, to the rising and setting sun.”

Lucas views this latest addition as: “A landmark where people can meet; a reminder of belonging to a larger world, a bit of beauty in the midst of getting there.”

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