Gimme an S!: A History of the Block Letter S

In spring, 2004 SU released a new logo that featured an interlocking 'SU', which was designed in conjunction with Nike, the new sponsor of SU athletics. The interlocking 'SU' had been settled on after the Nike design team conducted marketing research that indicated most members of the campus community referred to the University as 'SU'. It was decided that the new logo should adopt this as the identifier for the athletics program. This insignia became the emblem for all the athletics teams at SU, creating the first official logo to be worn by all sports teams.

When Athletic Director Daryl Gross came on board in winter, 2004 he inherited the fledgling logo. Over the course of the next few months Gross drew his own conclusions about how most people identified the university. Those fans not affiliated with the university were more likely, he felt, to recognize the Block 'S' as the emblem of Syracuse University. He felt the Block 'S' was much more identifiable than the interlocking 'SU', which had been confused with the 'SJ' used by St. John's University.

Though uniforms featuring the interlocking 'SU' persisted for a few years, given that many had been purchased new just months before the original 'S' made its return, the Block 'S' is now the trademarked symbol of athletics at Syracuse University.

This member of the women's relay team is prominently wearing the interlocking 'SU' logo that was designed with Nike and debuted in 2004. Women's Relay Runner, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2005. [ARM Image 13-0057] The Block 'S' was announced as SU's official athletics logo in 2005 and was the featured graphic on that season's basketball program. Basketball Program, 2005. [Archives DOC 53BKB0001] Though many of the team jerseys still spell out 'Syracuse', the Block 'S' often appears on another part of the uniform, like the helmets for the Lacrosse team. Lacrosse Player, 2006. [ARM Image 13-0053] Though many of the team jerseys still spell out 'Syracuse', the Block 'S' often appears on another part of the uniform, like the batting helmets for the Softball team. Softball Player, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2006. [ARM Image 13-0055] The crew team logos have almost always featured the Block 'S', but the single oar was sometimes replaced by a crossed pair of oars. Women's Crew Team, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2006. [ARM Image 13-0054] This Spring Sports Schedule features the Block 'S' as representative of all the sports teams at SU. The interlocking 'SU' from 2004 was the first logo to unite all the sports teams and though it was replaced by the Block 'S' a year later, the teams remained united under one logo. Spring Sports Schedule, 2008. [ARM Image 13-0045] The Block 'S' on the football helmets disappeared in the 1930s and was not used again until after the Block 'S' logo was reinstated in 2005. Football Quarterback, 2008. [ARM Image 13-0052] This football program cover shows the Block 'S' that appeared on the football helmets in 2008 after disappearing in the 1930s. Football Program, 2008. [Archives DOC 53FTB0002] These cheerleading uniforms show SU pride with the large orange Block 'S'. The sign in the background also features an enlarged version of the Block 'S' logo, trademarked in 2005. Cheerleaders, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2009. [ARM Image 13-0046] The Marching Band uniforms now feature the traditional Block 'S' logo; it's even displayed on the tubas and base drums. Marching Band Tuba Player, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2009. [ARM Image 13-0047] The 2009 championship Men's Soccer team proudly wears the re-vamped Block 'S' logo. Men's Soccer Team, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2009. [ARM 13-0048] The goalie for the Women's Hockey Team wears the Block 'S' logo. Women's Hockey Goalie, <em>Onondagan</em>, 2009. [ARM 13-0050] This large flag sports the trademarked Block 'S'. Fans who attend a men's basketball game will see this and it's four smaller companions, which spell 'Cuse'. Block 'S' Flag, Spirit Calendar, 2009 [ARM Image 13-0050] The cheerleading squad poses with Otto, the University mascot, wearing their uniforms featuring the Block 'S'. Cheerleaders and Otto, Spirit Calendar, 2009 [ARM Image 13-0051]