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Durham University

Durham University News

Comment and opinion

South College Motto and Crest Revealed

(4 June 2020)

Professor Tim Luckhurst, Head of South College and Associate PVC Engagement, announces South College’s crest and motto, and explores how it reflects the values of the new community we are creating.

As Principal of Durham University's first new college since 2006, I am proud that South can combine the best of the university's traditions with all the advantages of modernity. Our new college crest and motto advertise that combination.

A warm, welcoming and inspiring new community

The college motto is the Latin "Libertas, aequalitas, civitas totius Mundi', in English "freedom, equality and global citizenship". Freedom describes South College's dedication to freedom of thought, speech and debate. Equality stresses our commitment to inclusion and diversity. Global citizenship emphasises our determination to welcome students and staff from all over the world and concern for the future of our planet. 

Like the crest that accompanies it, the College motto was designed in partnership with South College's first students, the South College scholars who have transferred from other Durham University colleges to help us build a warm, welcoming and inspiring new community.

Our crest includes the Torch of Liberty, St Cuthbert's Cross and an owl. The torch lights the way to freedom and enlightenment. It represents our support for the free exchange of ideas and individual liberty. St Cuthbert is the North of England's best-loved saint. His cross is a widely admired symbol of Durham University. It expresses South College's pride in the historic university and county of which it is part. Owls live in the woods near college and its use in our logo will make a popular and distinctive college mascot. Owls also represent wisdom - which we hope both students and staff at South College will display. 

Looking forward

South College's wonderful news buildings and grounds at Mount Oswald are very nearly ready for occupation. My colleagues and I cannot wait to welcome our first new students in September. Our new motto and crest will be proudly displayed at the entrance to the college and on the wall of the Pitcairn Building, home to our cafe/bar, student common rooms and my office. Students will be able to display them on sweatshirts and T-shirts.

Now, all we need is a full size owl costume for one of our student leaders to wear while welcoming the new arrivals to their wonderful new home.