DePaul University Commencement > Tradition > Marks & Banners
The main section of the shield consists of a nine panes forming a heraldic cross, the symbol of the Christian faith. The center pane holds a heart symbolizing St. Vincent de Paul. Because he spent his life in the service of God and people, especially the poor, St. Vincent is considered to be the Apostle of Charity. The pane above the heart holds a crescent, the symbol of Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
The upper section contains a fleur-de-lis, symbol of St. Vincent's homeland, France. Three are shown, representing the Trinity. This section also carries two symbols of Chicago. A line suggestive of the wall of a fort represents Fort Dearborn. The phoenix on the crest, the symbol of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the City of Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.
The inscription 1898 refers to the year DePaul was first chartered by the State of Illinois as St. Vincent's College. In 1907 a new charter was granted in the name of DePaul University.
The motto of DePaul University is "Viam sapientiae monstrabo tibi," which is taken from the biblical book of Proverbs (4:11) and is translated "I will show you the way of wisdom."
This symbol expresses the university's integration of education and religion by combining the forms of a tree and a cross. Central to the symbol is a modified cruciform, suggestive of the Catholic roots of the university. This cruciform is also expressive of the human form, with arms uplifted and outstretched to give spirit and life to the environment. The figure stands erect and balanced, suggesting a strength of knowledge and values.
Viewing the symbol as a single unit, one sees our "Tree of Wisdom" resting firmly on the ground, with its square base and raised limbs in symmetry. It has age and fullness in its trunk and limbs, suggesting tradition; and youth and simplicity in its internal negative spaces representing leaf forms suggesting of sapling growth.
Typographically, the symbol incorporates and combines the lowercase letterforms d, p and u. The U form extending upward from the trunk is a true arc, a section of a perfect circle. Its position relative to the figure represents support, rather than containment, just as the university supports the human spirit in the pursuit of knowledge and the deepening of religious values.
The mace has been used ceremonially since the 12th century. The DePaul University mace was commissioned and became part of its commencement tradition in 2000. The mace was handcrafted utilizing the finest materials and the talents of craftspersons on two continents.
Measuring approximately 48 inches long, the mace is made of hand-turned yew wood. The silverwork of the mace is called repoussage, a process of beating sheets of silver on dense beds of tar. The silversmith taps the silver thousands of times to bring forth the intricacies of the design. The twining silver rose stems and buds symbolize the passage of time and the renewal of life. The phoenix rising from the flames is both a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the City of Chicago after the great fire of 1871. The enameled heart represents St. Vincent de Paul, and the crescent moon symbolizes Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and the patroness of the United States.
These flags, which originated in the medieval republics of Italy as a sign of state or office, are a part of DePaul's commencement tradition. DePaul has ten banners representing the university and its colleges and schools.
The official university banner features DePaul's colors (red and blue) and those of the City of Chicago flag (light blue, white, red and gold). The interrelationship between DePaul and Chicago is illustrated by the skyline motif, featured in the bottom right corner of each of the college and school banners.
The two-color diamond pattern symbolizes the arts and is reminiscent of the harlequin used in the Commedia dell'arte (Italian Renaissance Theatre).
The corner-to-corner cross is the heraldic symbol illustrating change and growth, the dual results of the educational process.
The double reversed chevrons illustrate the traditional scales of justice associated with the field of jurisprudence.
Heraldic bars of white against a pink field represent the five lines of the musical staff, a translator of musical language.
The heraldic pattern of eight lines radiating out from the center symbolizes the school's wide-ranging program of studies.
The "party-per-cross" design uses two tinctures to impart the quantitative nature of business enterprise.
The alternating pales of color symbolize the interrelationship of the diverse courses of study in the arts and sciences.
The triangular shapes represent the three primary areas of emphasis in the school. The reversal of colors of the triangles in the squares the fundamental binary nature of computing.
The alternating panes of color symbolize the interrelationship of the diverse courses of study in the sciences and health.
The arrows call to mind early communication models representing sender and receiver, but depicted here in a dynamic geometric model that acknowledges the complexity of human and mediated communications.
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