As the University of Waterloo responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of our students, their families, and our campus community is our top priority. It is with great disappointment that we will not be holding any in-person ceremonies in June 2020. These are extraordinary times, and we do not make this decision lightly. Please refer to the convocation home page for more details.

Last updated: May 12, 2020

Arms, motto and mace

University colours

The official colours of the University of Waterloo are gold, black and white.

University mace

This solid silver and ebony wand was given to the University in 1965 by the family of the late Stanley F. Leavine and was designed by Toronto artist Eric Aldwinckle and crafted by silversmith Harold Stacey to symbolize the University as it was at that time. It displays lions, chevrons and the shield of the province of Ontario, from which the University holds its charter to grant degrees.

The symbolic theme of the mace is unity amid diversity, and tension in the creative intellectual process that strives to bring forth a new individual. The design of the mace interprets this theme in the idiom of the life process: from the seeds at the base of the stave, the mace grows in unity and strength until it differentiates by a four-fold separation into diverse elements.

The four-fold diversity is significant because of the four faculties existing at the time the mace was presented to the University and as well of the four church-related colleges federated and affiliated with the University. These diverse elements together form a crown, and the points of the crown, while tending toward a union do not quite touch. They remain as individuals suspended in tension and yet engaged in a deep harmony. This creative process is focused not on the traditional spherical orb of static perfection but rather on an elliptical silver ovum — the egg-shaped symbol of creativity — the marvelous potential of a new individual life.

University arms and motto

The lions and chevrons also appear on the shield that is the University’s coat of arms and that is imprinted on the graduates’ diplomas. Derived from traditional heraldry, it has been used since 1961 and was registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon in 1987. The shield uses the official colours of gold, black and white, and its symbols refer to the University’s base in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. The unusual double chevrons were borrowed from the coat of arms of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and the red lions are like those on the coat of arms of the Duke of Wellington, victor at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. The lions also reflect the tough and innovative spirit of the University’s founders and builders, and the black and white in the chevron are the colours of Prussia, reflecting the Germanic background of many Waterloo County settlers. Beneath the shield appears the University’s motto, “concordia cum veritate,” — meaning, in harmony with truth.