27. Original Seal of the College of New Jersey


The original seal of the College of New Jersey was adopted by the trustees on November 9, 1748, the day of Princeton’s first commencement.  In the upper half of the inner circle rests an open Bible with the Latin wording “VET NOV TESTAMENTUM” (Old and New Testaments), which symbolized the “enlightened” religious values of the institution.  Though founded by those who believed in a new interpretation of the Gospel, the College charter explicitly ensured that “those of every religious Denomination may have free and equal Liberty and Advantages of Education,” a significant change from the ideologies of previously-established Americanschools.   The College’s motto—“Vitam Mortuis Reddo” (“I restore life to the dead”)—is displayed on a banner above the Bible.  Beneath the Bible on the left, a diploma indicates the goal of a student, and on the right, a table of books conveys scholarship.  Encircling these depictions are the words “Sigillum Collegii neo-cesariensis in America” (Seal of the College of New Jersey in America).  The seal, which is embossed on diplomas and printed on official documents as the corporate signature of the trustees, was changed in 1896 when the College became Princeton University.  The new seal retained the picture of the Old and New Testament and added a shield with a chevron.  The motto was also changed to “Dei Sub Numine Viget” (“Under God’s Power She Flourishes”). 

  • To learn more about Princeton’s founding, see quotation #35 and Café Vivian picture #19, and 33.

  • To learn more about major University anniversaries, see quotation #6, 23, and 33 and Café Vivian picture #16, 18, 34, 63, 65, 82, 98, and 112.

  • To learn more about Princeton trustees, see icon #5, quotation #7, 10, and 14, and Café Vivian picture #16, 18, 19, 33, 92, 101, 108, 111, and 123