Symbols of Office
Presidential Chain of Office
The Gonzaga presidential chain of office, sometimes referred to as the presidential medallion, is worn as part of the president’s academic attire at ceremonial occasions such as commencement and convocations. The chain is worn around the neck and drapes down across the chest and the back.
Its design combines the seal of the University and important dates that represent the University’s history. The medallion with the official University seal and the University’s name is the focal point of the chain and includes the official Gonzaga University coat of arms surrounded by decorative leaves and topped by the American bald eagle and symbols of Jesus all of which rest under a halo.
Leading to the medallion, the chain has six engraved disks, three on each side. These disks represent the six colleges and schools of Gonzaga University with their founding dates: The College of Arts and Sciences (1887); the School of Law (1912); the School of Business Administration (1921); the School of Education (1928); the School of Engineering (1934); and the School of Professional Studies (1975).
The original seal adopted by the University in the early 1890s depicted an eagle with protectively spread wings surrounded by the name “Gonzaga University.” The new seal, designed about 1914, took the form of a coat of arms and has been used on all degrees, medals and formal documents since that time. The eagle of the original seal was retained. It perches, with wings still spread protectively, atop a coat of arms in the form of a shield.
The dexter chief hatchment contains two gray wolves with forepaws upon a black pot and chain on a field of white. This represents the House of Loyola (lobo-y-olla, i.e., the wolves and the pot), Ignatius Loyola being the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The pride of the House of Loyola was that it fed the poor and kept the wolf from its door.
In the bottom right hatchment (sinister base), there are depicted the arms of the House of Gonzaga, a purple cross sustaining an in-escutcheon, the lions of Florence and three purple bars for the ecclesiastical dignity of the House. The four falcons in the corners of the escutcheon represent the hunting prowess of the family.
In the upper right (sinister chief), in the colors of Spain, are seven red bars on a field of gold, given to the House of Onez by the King, because seven brothers of that House distinguished themselves in the service of Spain.
In the bottom left (dexter base), are a sunburst over the Spokane Falls, a pine tree and an Indian tepee. All are representative of the Spokane community, which is named for the Spokane Indians. Spokane means “children of the sun.”
The eagle in the crest is the American bald eagle of the Republic and the symbols above: the IHS is the name of Jesus, His cross and the three nails of His crucifixion. In the crest, the nails and lettering are black with a surrounding halo of gold. The in-escutcheon in the center of the shield carries an immaculate white G on a field of royal blue, the colors of the University.
The scroll carries the letters “AMDG,” which stand for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To God’s Greater Glory), the motto of the Society of Jesus as given by its founder, Saint Ignatius Loyola. Under the scroll is the year of the University’s founding, 1887. The wreath of bay leaves on the right represents classic renown and the wreath of oak on the left signifies civic pride.
The stage is decorated with school banners which represent the various schools (or academic areas) which make up the University and the dates these schools were incorporated.
The major color of the flag matches the colored velvet of the academic hoods - indicating degrees awarded in that academic area.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the original school, incorporated in 1887, and the flag colors combine both white for liberal arts and yellow for science. The School of Law was started in 1912 and uses purple as its symbol. The next flag, brown in color, represents our School of Business Administration which officially began in 1921 followed in 1928 by the School of Education with its light blue flag. The orange-colored flag from 1934 denotes the School of Engineering while the 1975 flag for the School of Professional Studies unites the white of liberal arts with the apricot of nursing. Each flag is highlighted by a cross in Gonzaga blue upon which is placed the University seal.