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Convocation / Graduation: The Coat of Arms


The Coat of Arms of the University that hangs behind the Chancellor's dais is based on that of Edinburgh University, the institution after which Queen's was modeled.

The Coat of Arms consists of a gold shield with red edges, divided into four triangular compartments by a blue, diagonal St. Andrew's Cross, which represents the University's Scottish origins.

A golden book, symbolizing learning, sits open at the centre of the cross.

In each of the four compartments is an emblem of the University's Canadian and British origins: a pine tree for Canada, a thistle for Scotland, a rose for England, and a shamrock for Ireland.

The red colour of the border is a mark of cadency, indicating that Queen's is younger than Edinburgh University.

The border is decorated with eight gold crowns, symbolic of Queen Victoria and the University's Royal Charter.

The official heraldic description of the coat of arms is: "Or on a Saltire Azure between in chief a Fir tree eradicated in base a Thistle stalked and leaved in fesse a Red Rose barbed, seeded, stalked and leaved all proper and a Trefoil Vert, an open Book of the First, a Bordure also Gules charged with eight Ancient Crowns Gold."

The shield is underlined by the Latin phrase "Sapientia et Doctrina Stabilitas" which is translated as "Wisdom and Learning shall be the stability of thy times."

Although the Coat of Arms has been in use throughout the 20th century, it was not until 1953 that it was sanctioned by the College of Arms of England and subsequently registered through Letters Patent, dated 27 November 1981, and recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, that is the Court of the Lord Lyon, Edinburgh, Scotland.

On 30 September 1991, during Queen's Sesquicentennial Celebrations, the Coat of Arms was registered in the Canadian Registry of Flags, Arms and Badges.


The Queen's Encyclopedia,