It is entirely appropriate that the University of Notre Dame should have and make use of a coat of arms that symbolizes her history, traditions and purpose. Even though the seal can be seen on all official documents, bulletins, rings and numerous other things on the campus, few students are familiar with its meaning.
The official seal of the University was adopted in 1931 and has remained the same since then. The colors of the seal, blue and gold, are the colors of the Blessed Virgin to whom Notre Dame is dedicated. Since the title of the University is "Universitas Dominae Nostrae a Lacu," translated "University of Our Lady of the Lake," the star was chosen as Mary's symbol in the shield of arms. The shield in the center represents the Universe. At the base of the shield there are two wavy lines which represent the lakes and are expressive of the dedication of the University to the Star of the Sea. The Cross is the symbol of Catholicism and represents the Congregation of Holy Cross (C. S. C), who founded and still maintain the University. The open book always symbolizes an institution of learning and the words on the open book "Vita, Dulcedo, Spes" are words spoken by St. Bernard to the Virgin Mother. They are taken from an old prayer of the Virgin, the "Salve Regina" and mean "Our Life, Our Sweetness, Our Hope."
With the combination of all these phrases and symbols, the seal clearly indicates that the University is dedicatedto Our Lady in all its aspects, intellectual, moral, and athletic.