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The Coat of Arms of the UWI – Meaning and symbolism

The Coat of Arms of the University of the West Indies was approved in 1949. It features a shield divided into two with the main part showing an open book superimposed on blue and white wavy lines. The upper part of the shield is red and carries on it a yellow lion. The lion is a symbol of the British Monarchy, but since the lion cannot be identical with the Royal Lion it has been “differenced” by the addition of black marks on the lion’s skin, technically known as “erminois”. These same markings also appear in the coat-of-arms of Princess Alice, the UCWI’s first Chancellor.At the crest is a brown Pelican. UWI's first Principal, Dr. T. Taylor suggested the brown Pelican as it was a “bird found all over the Caribbean and is a traditional symbol of piety”. The arms are shown surrounded by what is technically known as “mantling”, which includes the symbol of a helmet with the visor closed indicating that the arms have been granted to a corporation rather than an individual. So take a good look at this emblem of our institution, each characteristic is meaningful and symbolizes the unity of The University of the West Indies.

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Student Handbooks (PDF)

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