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About Us: The Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

The design of the Coat of Arms of The University of the West Indies features a shield divided into two with the main part showing an open book superimposed on blue and white wavy lines. The upper part of the shield, the chief, is red with a Lion to show the connection with the Crown, but the Lion is gold/yellow with black spots technically known as “erminois” all over it. This is the Lion borne by H.R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, appointed by King George VI to be the first Chancellor, so that this appointment is recorded forever in the Arms of the University. These same markings also appear in the coat-of-arms of Princess Alice, the University College of the West Indies’ first Chancellor.

The crest is a brown Pelican, “a bird found all over the Caribbean which is a traditional symbol of piety”. The arms are shown surrounded by what is technically known as “mantling”, which includes the symbol of a helmet with the visor closed indicating that the arms have been granted to a corporation rather than to an individual. It is standing on a Crest Wreath, originally made of twisted silk to cover over the join of where the crest (made of wood or boiled leather) meets the helmet. The silk is a twist of the principal colours of the shield, in this case, blue and white, starting with white. This emblem features characteristics which are meaningful and symbolises the unity of The University of the West Indies.

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