History & Tradition

You're part of our future—and our past

We're proud of our past and confident in our future. Founded in 1818, Dalhousie has been at the heart of Halifax for almost 200 years—in fact our original campus was right downtown in the Grand Parade, where Halifax City Hall now stands! We've grown from one tiny campus with a handful of students to four unique campuses with a population of over 18,000 from around the world!

While things have changed over the years, we still hold on strong to a lot of our old traditions while making new ones. So while you're screaming your lungs out during Orientation Cheer-off, taking in a varsity Tiger game, or participating in the Induction Ceremony, you'll feel the history and spirit of this wonderful place.


Did you know?

Our official colours

Dalhousie’s primary colours are black and gold, taken from the jerseys originally worn by Dalhousie’s rugby team (and now proudly worn by all our teams!).

The Dalhousie seal

The Dalhousie seal is based on the heraldic achievement – commonly called “Coat of Arms” – of the Ramsay family of Scotland. Though the Ramsay seal features a griffon (half lion, half dragon) and greyhound, the Dalhousie seal instead has two dragons supporting the eagle-adorned shield. The seal can be seen engraved on the lobby floor in the Henry Hicks Academic and Administration Building.

The New Dawn Staff of Place and Belonging

Dalhousie's New Dawn Staff of Place and Belonging was first introduced into use at Convocation in the Spring of 2019, replacing the University Mace as the ceremonial object used to open and close each ceremony. Like the Mace before it, the New Dawn Staff is carried into the ceremony by the University Beadle at the head of the graduate procession and placed onstage to signal the start of the celebration and carried back out to mark the end.

The New Dawn Staff was designed and created by artists Alan Syliboy of Millbrook First Nation and Mark Austin of Colchester County, with guidance from the university and in collaboration with a team of artists and craftspeople from diverse communities across Nova Scotia.

The Faculty of Agriculture Ring

In March 2010, Dal launched an official ring designed exclusively for the Faculty of Agriculture students and alumni. The design features a textured pattern of barley around the band. Each ring is handmade by local artisan, Donna Hiebert.