The Coat of Arms

The Dalhousie University Coat of Arms is based on the heraldic achievement (commonly called “Coat of Arms”) of the Ramsay family of Scotland. The Rt. Hon. George Ramsay, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, founded the University in 1818. Initially the Ramsay family coat of arms was used to identify Dalhousie. But over time, it has evolved, as have most heraldic devices through marriage or political alliances.

The seal used by the University differs from that of the Ramsay family version in three ways.

First, through marriage one of the supporters on the Ramsay achievement has now changed to include a greyhound on the right.

Secondly, the original Ramsay supporters were griffins (half lion, half dragon). Dalhousie has dragons.

The third change occurred in 1950 when the Board of Governors changed the colour of the shield from white (silver) to gold, to reflect the University’s colours of black and gold.

Since 1987 the university has used the eagle and shield as the basis for its logo.