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Harvard University (U.S.)


Last modified: 2010-08-13 by rick wyatt
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[Flag of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] image by Joe McMillan

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Description of the flag

The oldest university in the United States, founded in 1636 as Harvard College, named for its principal early benefactor, John Harvard. Harvard coat of arms is Gules three open books proper inscribed VE, RI, and TAS (spelling out "veritas," Latin for "truth." The coat of arms first appears in a sketch in the records of a meeting of the college's Overseers in 1644. A version with a white chevron between the three books (now used as the arms of Harvard College as the undergraduate element of Harvard University) appears on the institution's 1650 charter from the Massachusetts Great and General Court (legislature). However, the arms fell out of use and were lost to memory thereafter until they were rediscovered and returned to use as a result of research in preparation for Harvard's bicentennial celebrations in 1836. For that event a white banner was made with the shield on it. Harvard now uses a banner of the arms for both daily flying and ceremonial use. In addition, the components of the university including Harvard College, specialized schools, and undergraduate residential houses have their own arms as well as flags that mostly consist of the escutcheon on a crimson or other solid field.
Joe McMillan, 11 March 2004