Symbolism in the Rutgers Shield

The Rutgers ShieldThe shield’s elements convey where we have been and who we are now. The shield is divided into thirds, representing Rutgers’ deep connections to New Jersey’s three regions—north, central, and south—and denoting the university’s tripartite mission—teaching, research, and service.

Five symbolic elements both acknowledge our past and signify that as we evolve, we will uphold core values that have been integral to our identity from our earliest days.


The Rutgers shield, introduced in 2015, marks our 250th anniversary celebration.


Bronze sealThe sunburst conveys illumination—light as metaphor for knowledge—and it is the motif of our seal and the heart of our motto, “Sun of righteousness, shine upon the West also.” Our centuries-old seal and motto are both variants on those of Utrecht University, the Netherlands; its motto reads, “Sun of righteousness, enlighten us.”

Our 18th-century founders took inspiration and support from the Old World as they provided for “the education of youth ... in the liberal and useful arts and sciences” in the New World: America.


Queens College CharterThe crown represents our founding in 1766 as Queen’s College, named in honor of Queen Charlotte, wife of Great Britain’s King George III who reigned over the American colonies when our charter was signed.

Queen Charlotte is an apt early namesake: current scholarship finds she cared deeply for education, and, against convention, ensured that her six daughters were educated as well as her nine sons. Inclusion and equality are Rutgers hallmarks.


Kirkpatrick Chapel Charter WindowWe were founded in 1766 and the date confirms our standing as one of America’s nine original colonial colleges. A decade later, as the American Revolution erupted, the college gave itself over to the cause of freedom, as all “who were able to bear arms immediately marched to oppose the enemy.”

Rutgers people today continue to passionately champion just causes.


Map showing Rutgers locationsThe three stars represent the State of New Jersey, the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Rutgers is devoted to serving our home state as New Jersey’s land-grant school and is proud to be The State University of New Jersey.


Disciplines of studyThe book is a timeless symbol of our enduring commitment to teaching, learning, academic inquiry, and scholarship.

Across generations and disciplines, at our core, we create, share, and apply knowledge for the enrichment of individuals and the betterment of the broader society.

Rutgers Coat of ArmsThe bicentennial shield was produced in 1966 for Rutgers’ 200th anniversary.
The new shield replaces this version.