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Furman History and Traditions

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Visual History of the Furman University Seal

Furman University's main building "Old Main" was finished in 1854 and an engraved likeness of this building soon became the centerpiece of an official seal encircled by the words "The Furman University, Greenville, SO. CA., 1850." The oldest extant version of this seal survives as an impression on a blue ribbon on the 1859 diploma of James Furman Dargan.  This same seal continued to be used until 1900. The example below is from an 1897 Diploma for William McCants Hartin under President Charles Manly.


The changes made in 1900 included the name of the university and the motto inscribed in Latin: Furmana Universitatas at the top and Christus et Doctrina - "Christ and Learning" - at the bottom. A small scroll beneath the likeness of Old Main read: "Est. 1851."  

Examples below: 1900 Commencement Program, President Andrew Montague; 1903 Bonhomie Yearbook, President Edwin Poteat


The next change happened after 1909 with the motto changing from the nominative case to the dative of purpose: Christo et Doctrinae, "For Christ and Learning." The following example is from a 1920 Graduation Program under President William J. McGlothlin.


With the observance of the university's centennial in 1926, the seal changed again, with "Furman University" at the top, "Greenville, S.C." at the bottom, and the Latin motto in the center just under Old Main. Beneath the motto the date was changed to 1826.

Examples below: 1938 Class Day Exercises Program; 1938 Diploma, Rosalind Lind Hill


With the inauguration of President David E. Shi in 1995, the university seal changed again to the one below. It is used for official formal university events such as commencement, official presidential communications and events such as inaugurations, diplomas, certificates, citations, formal jewelry (fancy watches, etc.), and on plaques and buildings.