The AVMA plans to replace the insignia the Association has used on its publications, awards, and office buildings since 1971.
The new AVMA logo likely will still include the Aesculapian staff with the superimposed “V” that is central to the current logo. The current logo is only the third since the Association’s founding as the United States Veterinary Medical Association 150 years ago.
“As much as we value and take pride in our past, we need to be forward-thinking and focused; the new logo will help us to do that—and to convey this to our members,” Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, told JAVMA News.
Dr. DeHaven notes that the AVMA wants to show it is changing to maintain relevance and value to its members, and that includes developing a new look and feel that conveys that the Association is evolving.
Aesculapius, known as the Greek god of healing, was the son of Apollo and the pupil of the centaur Chiron. The image of Chiron was central to the first logo adopted by the United States Veterinary Medical Association in 1863.
This January, the AVMA Executive Board approved spending up to $80,000 to design a new logo and $98,000 to implement the symbol. The design money will be used to gather focus groups, survey members on logo concepts, and pay trademark expenses. The implementation costs will include changes to print products, building and podium signs, websites, and trade show signs and clothing.
The first AVMA logo showed Chiron holding a scroll and standing above the Latin phrase “non nobis soblum,” meaning “not for us alone.” He was replaced in the early 1920s with a caduceus, a staff topped with wings and wrapped with two snakes facing one another.
The caduceus is the symbol of the Greek god Hermes, and is used to represent commerce. The AVMA House of Delegates voted in June 1970 to replace the symbol, and the current logo was first displayed on the cover and in the pages of the Jan. 1, 1971, issue of JAVMA.
JAVMA news coverage stated at the time that Dr. Joseph Arburua of San Francisco, who initially supported adoption of the caduceus, had fought for 38 years to replace it as the AVMA’s insignia.
“Since 1932, when he realized that the winged wand of the caduceus was a symbol of the Greek god Hermes, who was associated with such unsavory callings as highwaymen, thieves, intrigues, and the fat purse, Dr. Arburua has been trying valiantly to get the AVMA to change its insigne to the staff of Aesculapius,” JAVMA archives state.