University Archives

University Seals

Definition of "seal": an emblem, symbol, or word used to certify a signature or authenticate a document from an institution.

University Seal 1930s-1958University Seal, 1930s-1958

A version of this seal first appeared in the 1931/32 St. Cloud State course catalog.

Featured prominently in this seal is the cupola of the Old Main Building, which stood behind Stewart Hall. Constructed in 1874 with additions in 1893 and 1897, Old Main served as the main (and often only) building for the university. After the completion of Stewart Hall, replacing Old Main as the main campus administrative and classroom building, the structure was completely demolished in 1950.

The seal's artist is unknown.

University Seal 1958-1975University Seal, 1958-ca. 1975

In 1958, this seal replaced the "Old Main cupola" seal. Designed by St. Cloud State faculty member James Crane, the desire for a new seal was driven by the name change of the school from St. Cloud State Teachers College to St. Cloud State College in 1957.

According to an article in the October 1958 edition of the St. Cloud State Alumni Newsletter, the new seal incorporated a great deal of symbolism related to St. Cloud State:


  • Mississippi River lies just past campus
  • Trees are a prominent feature of campus
  • Building featured is the front of relatively new Stewart Hall


  • Sun represents light, learning, and knowledge
  • River represents permanence and change
  • Four points on the border stand for the four points of campus

University seal 1975-2001University Seal, ca. 1975-2001

In August 1975, the school changed its name from St. Cloud State College to St. Cloud State University. This prompted a slight design of the seal. The words in the outer band changed - Saint Cloud, Minnesota" and "State College" were dropped and replaced simply by the phrase "St. Cloud State University." 

University seal 2001-presentUniversity Seal, 2001-present

In November 2000, a campus-wide online election was held to choose a new university seal. According to the Winter 2001 issue of Outlook, a new seal was developed "because the former seal lacked an academic feel and did not accurately represent the University."

Voters had to choose between two seals, picked among two dozen potential designs created by University Communication staff. Voters overwhelmingly picked this seal.

According to an article in the January 22, 2001, edition of the Chronicle that announced the winning design, the symbolism of the new seal was chosen to "illustrate SCSU's long history of teacher preparation." The cupola is from Riverview, which opened in 1913 as St. Cloud State's laboratory school, a place where student teachers could observe "master" teachers teach and to teach themselves. The oak leaves "represent the oak crowned banks of the Mississippi River," where St. Cloud State has stood since its establishment in 1869.

The seal selected in 2001 had the Latin phrase "Excellentia et Opportunitas" at the bottom but was soon replaced by the English phrase "Excellence and Opportunity."