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The story behind our University Arms



The University Arms were awarded to the university on 11 January 1994. These Arms are composed of a number of symbols, all of which are relevant to our University. 

The open books at the top of the shield symbolise the source of knowledge and they are ‘charged’ with the white rose of York, which signifies our geographical location.  

The fountain is a source of water, and is symbolic of spiritual life, salvation, immortality, inspiration and knowledge, all of which are appropriate to a learning community.  

The shield is divided ‘per chevron’ a word which is taken from the French for rafter, and which symbolises a roof, or place of protection – and looking not unlike a Yorkshire hill.  

The crowning element of the design is the crest, which shows a Barn owl, the most widely distributed of all owls, found throughout the world, and a representation of wisdom. 

The owl is shown emerging from a coronet and between two sprigs of laurel, symbolic of the laurel wreaths that were a sign of honour awarded to victors in Greek and Roman times and are still worn by students after their graduation ceremony in Italy.  

Owls wearing coronets are also the Supporters of the Arms of Leeds City Council. 

Either side of the shield are graduates of the university with their degree certificates
 
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