Painting the Letters

By Fred Puza

The letters L, M and U on the bluff, viewable from afar — even on airplanes approaching LAX — are one of the university’s iconic images.

 

For years, members of the Crimson Circle service organization have taken pride in painting them, a two-and-a-half hour process involving 20 to 30 students, with help from the Facilities and Maintenance staff. Safety precautions were approximated in the past, but today, each student, equipped with a paint roller and a bucket of white paint, is carefully strapped into a harness.

Senior Andrew Tsoules, president of Crimson Circle, says the hardest thing is adjusting to the slope of the hill. “It’s very disorienting to try and move when you first get down there,” Tsoules says. “But after a few minutes, you feel like a boss navigating the slope.”

This past year, Crimson painted the letters in late April, just before graduation. The timing was intentional. “We knew our work would be seen by thousands,” Tsoules says. The activity is heavily promoted during Crimson’s recruitment, and volunteers are never at a shortage. For Crimson members, the job is a serious one. “Even though I only put down one coat of paint, I am proud that this organization, which was such a huge part of my college experience, is responsible for maintaining that symbol of LMU,” says Kevin Brown ’08, M.A. ’11.

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