University Seal

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First Used: 1800 (original seal of both the College of New Brunswick and King's College); 1864 (recast seal which appears on floor of Bonar Law-Bennett Library); 1968 (original seal restored to use by the university)

Restored original UNB Seal, [1968]. Acc. 2010.05; Series 1; Item no. 323, File 12.

Details: The Latin around the edge is an abbreviation of Sigillum Universitatis Novi Brunsvici, stating that it is the seal of the University of New Brunswick, while the inscriptions on the open book are from the Bible. The text on the left-hand page of the book reads in Hebrew, "In the Beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth...and the Spirit of God moved upon the Face of [the waters]." On the right-hand the Greek text reads, "THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT JOHN," followed by the first six words of the first verse of John's gospel, "In the beginning was the Word."** The three clouds at the base of the seal were added by Rudolph Ruzicka in the redesign of the original seal in 1968.

The 1864 seal consisted of a shield divided by a chevron with two open books at the top and a Latin cross at the base. A dove descending, partially surrounded by rays of light, hovered over this image. The university's motto Sapere Aude (Dare to be Wise) appeared on a scroll below the shield.

History:The original seal dates to when the university received its provincial charter as the College of New Brunswick and was continually used until 1859, after which the institution became the University of New Brunswick, with an accompanying seal recast in 1864. The original seal was restored in 1968 on the suggestion of Colin B. Mackay, who observed that the original seal was one of the oldest university seals in Canada and should be maintained for current use. This seal appears on all official UNB documents, including contracts, diplomas, and other legal documents.

College of New Brunswick seal, [after 1800]. Acc. 2010.05; Series 1; Item no. 318, File 12.


  • Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 190-191.
  • UNB Emblems, [UNB Seal]
  • UA Case 128; Section 2; File 2.
  • Explication of these texts courtesy of Professor Michael J. Mills.**

© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014