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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Registration number 20061018E

This certifies that the heraldic arms of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Arms: Gules on a pale Argent a surveyor's leveling rod palewise proper; a chief quarterly, 1st Gules a cross moline Or, 2nd Argent a fess embattled counter-embattled Gules between three mullets of six points Or, 3rd Argent three crowns Or, 4th Argent three chevronels Or.
Motto: Knowledge and Thoroughness


Blazoned by Joseph McMillan
Historical note from

Historical note

The first official emblem of Rensselaer was created by architect R.C. Sturgis in 1904 upon the request of Institute Director Palmer C. Ricketts. Sturgis's design was based on motifs from the coat of arms of Killaen Van Rensselaer, who was the great, great grandfather of RPI founder Stephen Van Rensselaer. The Institute coat of arms includes a surveyor's target, symbolizing the school's focus on civil engineering, and the words "Knowledge and Thoroughness" on a banner below the shield.

The following is an excerpt from Palmer C. Ricketts's History of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Third Edition, 1934 (pp. 184-185):

"Inquiries having been made, from time to time, for the coat-of-arms of the Institute for the use in the decoration of rooms in university clubs in various cities, one was originated in 1904. It was designed by R.C. Sturgis, architect, of Boston. He squeezed up the coat of arms of Stephen Van Rensselaer vertically, to the top of the shield, and below it placed the three vertical strips using the Institute colors cherry and white. As at that time, the civil was the only engineering course given, the surveyor's target was used on the white middle trip. The legend "Knowledge and Thoroughness" was used by the director because these words seemed to cover two characteristics developed by the Institute course."

Registered by

Michael Swanson


Education, Original, US, R

Roll of Arms