The Man Behind the Lancer Logo

The Man Behind the Lancer Logo


The St. Joe’s Lancer is the symbol of our school pride. It represents our fierceness in athletics and our drive for success in academics. Bob Anderson, who attended St. Joe’s himself, is the brilliant artist behind our school’s icon. He deserves all of the credit and recognition for the symbol that fuels our school spirit. When asked about himself and the story behind the lancer, he was more than happy to tell his tale.

Bob Anderson was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin at St. Catherine’s Hospital on January 17, 1943. His family consists of his wife, Karen, and his two daughters, Sara and Jennifer. He also has a sister, Mary, who lives in Arizona. Bob developed a fascination for art because he always loved to draw. At a very young age, he and his cousin Chuck would lie on the floor and draw for hours. Bob discovered that he was a talented artist when people admired and praised his artwork. Most of the successful work he has done has resulted from people begging him to do projects for them. This adoration really inspired him to keep drawing and sketching. When he attended St. Joe’s, he took several art classes, and he has many fond memories of them. One was a craft class where he made Nativity scenes out of wooden spoons, and another was a sketching class focused on drawing self-portraits. While he was the librarian at Dominican College in Racine, he enrolled in classes in the art department. The first was a woodcut class which he really enjoyed, and the second was a watercolor painting class which gave him huge respect for the medium. He joked saying that he didn't create any “masterpieces” in that class. Apparently, a love for art runs in Bob’s family because both of his daughters are artistic as well. Sara graduated from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee with an Arts degree, and Jennifer has a natural talent for crafts and a real “decorator’s eye.”

Bob began at St. Joe’s in the fall of 1957. The freshman class was in the basement that year because parts of the school were still under construction. The upper classes were from St. Mary’s High School, which closed once St. Joe’s was established. Bob graduated from St. Joe’s in 1961. His class was the “charter” class, meaning that they were the first class to attend all four years at St. Joe’s. Bob fondly recalled his time at St. Joe’s as being fun and enjoyable. Back then, nuns and priests were in almost every classroom, and the only lay teachers that Bob remembered having were coaches. Even though the nuns and the priests were very strict, Bob commented that they were also very likeable. He described them as probably being the most dedicated men and women in education at the time. For the most part, he recalled them being true motivators. This motivation spark his interest in school He served at mass and would often take the bus to school extra early so that he could serve in the chapel before school started. The nuns lived on the top floor of the school and held a daily mass. Bob joked that they were probably praying for guidance to get through the day dealing with the students! Bob’s favorite subject in school was always English. He had dreams of becoming a humor writer for TV shows and/or a librarian. Therefore, his loves at the time included reading and writing, and of course art!

            The symbol of St. Joe’s has always been the lancer. However, before Bob created the current version, the lancer logo was a bland, clip-art character that was taken from a prom catalog book. Bob dubbed it as being “generic and copied the world over.” Due to the logo’s dull appearance, Bob was called upon to bring new life and originality to the school's mascot. Before Mrs. Pauline McTernan was working at St. Joe’s, she served on its Home and School Board. She knew Bob from St. Mark’s and had seen some samples of the logos and artwork that he had done for the school. Mrs. McTernan asked Bob to create the lancer, and he gladly accepted. Bob was so pleased to have been asked by Mrs. McTernan to create the logo. He wanted to do something that captured what he felt a lancer should be, hopefully a symbol of what St. Joe’s wanted their students to become. Bob said that the lancer he created was inspired by a medieval German stained glass window that he had discovered in an old book on heraldry. He created a few sketches of the lancer for Mrs. McTernan, and she loved them. With the Board’s approval, Bob’s drawing became the official symbol for St. Joe’s. When he finished the logo, he mailed the original drawing to St. Joe’s in a sealed envelope that would remain unopened as proof of copyright if ever needed. In the original drawing, Bob signed his name at the end of a line below the Lancer. Occasionally, the Kenosha News prints the image large enough so that the line and his signature are visible. Bob said that he gets a huge kick out of seeing it whenever it’s in the newspaper. Bob deserves recognition for being the brilliant artist behind the symbol of St. Joe’s, and in 2011 at his 50th high school reunion, Mrs. McTernan made a point of informing everyone there that Bob had created the lancer logo. Only a few of his classmates were already aware of that, so telling everyone was a pleasant surprise. When asked how it feels that his legacy at St. Joe’s lives on through his drawing of lancer, Bob answered with one word, “AWESOME!”

            After St. Joe’s, Bob went on to Parkside. After two years, he continued on to Dominican College in Racine, and the Rosary College in River Forest. He graduated with a Master’s degree and became a librarian. He is currently enjoying the perks of retirement by spending his time doing his favorite things. His favorite hobbies include cartooning, reading, and being the best grandfather that he can be to his grandson, Mykel, who is serving as a Marine in Okinawa, Japan. Bob also enjoys teaching art classes at the Kenosha Public Museum where he shows children the basics of drawing and cartooning. He first started teaching classes at the museum when he was the librarian at Reuther Alternative High School, and he has been happily teaching there ever since.

Bob Anderson, the man behind the St. Joe’s Lancer, is an amazing artist, a loving grandfather, and an incredible person. He deserves recognition for creating the iconic symbol that represents our school. We here at St. Joe’s thank him for the contribution he has made and the legacy that he has left behind. Bob, with his immense artistic talent, has forever left his mark on St. Joe’s.

On a personal note, Bob was my Explorer Leader at St. George. He was a remarkable man and a wonderful role model.

Tom Herrmann, Past President Alumni Association



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