Fall 2001
Vol. 18 No. 3

Burst of Energy

Amazing Discovery

Heart for Teaching

Tool Shed Development

Evolution of a Seal

Samford Ranks Fifth

Class Notes


Despite Many Changes, Samford Seal Retains its Official Aura

What's in a seal, or more specifically, the Samford University seal?

That all depends on which of the at least 14 versions you look at.

The Samford seal has been around almost as long as the school itself, placing the institution's official stamp on such formal documents as diplomas, commencement and dedication programs, and the like.

But over the years, that official stamp has changed such components as the year the school started, the school motto, artistic features and even the name of the institution itself.

And that dates back only to 1858, 17 years after the school was chartered as Howard College. Were there earlier seals that history has lost?

Despite its inconsistent appearance, the seal has retained an aura of officialdom. That's especially true of the current seal, for this version was formally adopted by the Samford Board of Trustees just last May, only the second to be voted on by the board.

It features an updated motto, Deo Doctrinae Aeternitati, a reflection of Samford's mission, "for God, for learning, forever." It incorporates oak leaves and acorns that refer back to Sherman Oak on the East Lake campus.

"These also refer to the great potential in small beginnings--a theme applicable to each student and to the institution," noted Samford President Thomas E. Corts.

Even though there have been many changes over the years, most have been minor. Major alterations have included adding the first school motto, Deo et Doctrinae, translated "for God and learning," in 1906; adding the year classes started (1842), also in 1906; changing the name from Howard College, in 1965; and changing the year to 1841, the school's charter date, in 1972.

Trustees previously adopted only the 10th version, in 1951. And that was only after trustee Memory L. Robinson, a prominent attorney, said he felt adopting a slightly changed seal would not effect its legality.

With all the changes since 1858, at least two factors have been constant. The seal has remained official, and it has remained round.