Reconciling seemingly different ideas

You’ll often notice in Messiah’s communications the use of two different words “fused” together—words like faith-intellect or harmony-difference. We refer to these as “ligatures” and they symbolize Messiah’s ability to help students reconcile seemingly different ideals in new and interesting ways. Messiah University uses ligatures to help visually communicate our institutional vlaues and to help students explore if Messiah's values will be a good fit for their own. To strengthen the transformational meaning of the ligatures, in 2020, we added gradients of color and a stained glass element to represent the fusing of ideas and connect to the Messiah metaphor.

Tone Poems: from a student perspective

Below are the eight primary ligatures used in Messiah's marketing communications. For these ligatures, Messiah has developed an "outcome" of what happens when these specific powerful concepts are brought together in the lives of students. Students also go deeper into primary ligatures through the use of an applied narrative, written in the first-person voice of a student, called a "tone poem." 

View examples of our primary ligatures and their tone poems below:


Faith / Intellect

First-year seminar class.
We explore complex issues.
I can see the problem –
the longing for meaning
in a world reluctant
to give it.

The professor asks,
“As Christians, what do
we do with this?”
At Messiah,
I grapple with ideas
from all angles
until I see the
world’s realities
in a much deeper way.

I sharpen
a discerning spirit.


Harmony / Difference

Before I came to Messiah,
I thought I had to agree
before I could listen.

But our conversations here
are full of different perspectives.

So when someone has
something to say,
I listen.

Maybe I will agree with him,
but even if I don’t,
I respond thoughtfully,
realizing he cares as deeply
about his faith
as I do about mine.

At Messiah, our core
Christian convictions are the same.

We deepen a passion for Christian community.

Home / Journey

Home / Journey

A semester in Rome.
A service trip to Zambia.
Three weeks
immersed in the culture and
landscape of New Zealand.

Messiah draws me
into the world, and I realize—
I am a global citizen,
no longer free to imagine
that my tiny place
is all that matters.

From all over the earth,
we redefine the
meaning of home.

We experience a worldwide sense of belonging.


Success / Purpose

We advance our education, our careers, our calling.

We serve our communities, students, patients and consumers
by becoming ethical and influential leaders in our field.

We succeed as students, colleagues, leaders and mentors,
with expertise rooted in evidence,
tempered by critical thinking
and grounded in Christian faith.

We lead lives of meaningful impact


Wisdom / Expertise

Biology students
explore art history;
Nursing students
study practical theology.

Because Messiah
professors teach us how,
rooted in the context of why,
we learn to make deeply
considered decisions.

In other words,
we learn to be leaders.

We develop
authentic power
to lead.



Preparation / Imagination

Real problems.
A little girl needs
a prosthetic hand.
She wants to be
able to ride a bike.

From our campus,
we take it on.
We brainstorm.

We analyze, research, design.
We fail and try again.

We solve it.

We don’t just dream
of all we’ll do
after we graduate
from Messiah.

We do it now.

We cultivate
real-world creativity.

Humility / Aspiration

Humility / Aspiration

At Messiah, we ask:
Why am I doing what I’m doing?

The answer
gets us up in the morning
and keeps us going late at night.

Our achievements
are an offering to God.

We hone our gifts,
because the more
capable we become,
the more powerfully we serve.

We learn an ethic
of servanthood.

Worship / Service

Worship / Service

We gather
to pray and sing,
to stand before God
and ask: How shall we live?

In service learning,
we find an answer.

We determine
that our lives
are not theoretical –
that our gifts have
a vital place,
that our actions can be
an influence for good.

We discover
a sense of calling.