Harvard University has replaced the official shield of its law school after long-voiced objections from students and staff about the previous version, which featured the family crest of an 18th-century slaveholder who donated money to help establish the school.
From a Harvard release: “The new design features Harvard’s traditional motto, veritas (Latin for truth) displayed in crimson across the top, resting above the Latin phrase lex et iustitia, or law and justice. The bottom three quarters of the new shield display a series of eight overlapping, curved lines inspired by architectural details found in Austin and Hauser halls.”
Through extensive research and input with students, staff, alumni, and faculty, three themes emerged consistently:
1. A diverse and pluralistic community
2. Leadership that changes the world for the better
3. The fundamental pursuit of law and justice
The shield shape and its contents speak of the school’s history and traditions, while the strong colors and radiating lines suggest ongoing evolution as well as energy, light, and strength.
Again from the school’s news release, “The expanding or diverging lines, some with no obvious beginning or end, are meant to convey a sense of broad scope or great distance—the limitlessness of the school’s work and mission. The radial lines also allude to the latitudinal and longitudinal lines that define the arc of the earth, conveying the global reach of the Law School’s community and impact. The multifaceted, radiating form—a form inspired by architectural details found in both Austin Hall and Hauser Hall—seeks to convey dynamism, complexity, inclusiveness, connectivity, and strength.