Nike, the University’s Armorial Device

August 11 / 66


In 1861, Chancellor Sir Redmond Barry went to England, empowered to procure a coat of arms for the University. 


He returned with “A figure intended to represent victory, robed and attired proper, and the dexter hand holding a wreath of laurel or, between four stars of eight points, two in pale and two in fesse argent, together with the motto, Postera Crescam Laude”.

Nike has served as the University’s Armorial Device ever since. In 1906, renowned anthropologist Baldwin Spencer, classicist Thomas Tucker and University librarian E.H. Bromby reshaped the design, but in 1991 it was returned to something more like the original.

The Goddess of Victory, Nike was the daughter of the titan giant Pallas and the Oceanid Styx and sister to Zelos (rivalry), Kratos (strength) and Bia (force).  She fought alongside the Olympian Gods and with Zeus against the Titans. 

She symbolised victory in many areas, including sport, (the reason her name has been adopted by the famous sporting goods company). Next year, Nike will also adorn the medals at the London Olympics.

 A large bronze sculpture of Nike is located in the Ante Room in the main foyer at the northern end of Wilson Hall. 

Jennifer Mann (Office of the Senior Vice-Principal) designed and sculpted the statue, as well as a duplicate which is located in the Raymond Priestley Building.


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