University SealThe seal of the University of North Carolina Wilmington has evolved over the years. Originally, there were no pine boughs on the seal. A compass, square, quill and triangle were depicted to represent the pre-engineering program offered by Wilmington College. Today’s seal retains the triangle as a reference to our roots, adds the pine boughs for the longleaf pine, indigenous to North Carolina, and the scroll for a diploma-issuing university. The UNCW Seahawk, our mascot, appears at the top of the pine boughs, and 1947, the date of the establishment of Wilmington College, appears at the bottom.

UNC Wilmington’s unique motto, Discere Aude, was created by Dr. William Madison Randall, Wilmington College President, 1958-68. It has been defined as both “Dare to learn” and “In order to discover the truth firsthand, be courageous!”


The UNCW mace, carried by the chief faculty marshal at commencement, incorporates elements and materials important to the history of our university and region. The boss, or top of the mace, represents the essence of education, the flame of learning. It was designed to embody humankind’s timeless pursuit of knowledge and quest for truth.

University MaceBelow the boss are four official seals important to the university’s history. They represent New Hanover County, Wilmington College, the University of North Carolina system and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Four bands on the shaft symbolize UNCW’s four academic areas: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the Cameron School of Business and the Watson College of Education.

The terminus, or end piece, consists of a longleaf pinecone to symbolize the longleaf pine tree common to the landscape of Southeastern North Carolina. The longleaf pine is also the state tree.

The mace was designed by Jeff Morvil, a Wilmington artist, and created by Marvin Jensen, a sculptor from Penland, NC.


The university medallion, along with academic processionals, regalia and the university mace, is a symbol steeped in tradition. During the Middle Ages, medallions signified membership in religious orders, and in the Renaissance, they were worn by members of elite orders of knighthood and high-ranking government officers. Today, colleges and universities strike medallions to commemorate important events and achievements. Symbolic of the highest honor and office of a campus, the medallion is to be worn by the Chancellor for ceremonial occasions such as commencement and convocation.

UNCW medallionIn an effort to recognize UNCW’s traditions and history, the bronze medallion features the UNCW seal on the front. The names of the previous chancellors and presidents are engraved on the back of the medallion to honor them and their service to UNCW.