Traditions at this school and Things You Need to Know

The University of Calgary stands out among Canadian universities for it’s high quality undergraduate education that is characterized by the innovation, discovery and learning that is at the heart of each aspect of this institution. The University is Canada’s leading next-generation university that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. While the University has evolved into the top institution that it is today, it carries and incorporates many traditions from its origins. From the logo, official colours, and convocation traditions, there is much history behind these traditions. Whether you are a current student or incoming first year student, these are the traditions that you will become all too familiar with throughout your time at UCalgary.

Traditions at the University of Calgary 

Traditions at UCalgary are rich and deep with history. The University combines the best of long-established university traditions with Calgary’s frontier spirit of originality and innovation. 

Made up of two components, the infamous UCalgary logo was designed to reflect bold thinking and a connection with the origins of Calgary. The crest – being the first aspect of the logo – represents and respects the historical Coat of Arms, whereas the wordmark – being the second aspect of the logo – reflects the institution’s focus on the future. The official Coat of Arms is a representation and issue of respect to their historical roots. 

The University has two official colours, red and gold, which are decorated throughout the design of the logo. The shield itself consists of two parts, the upper part (the chief) separated from the lower (the base) by an arched line symbolizing the Chinook arch. In commemoration of the North West Mounted Police under whose influence Western Canada was settled, the ground colour of the chief is a bold scarlet color. Upon this colour is a pair of open books bound in gold, and between the books lies a white rose that is symbolic of Alberta. The ground color of the base is gold, which serves as an indication of golden sunshine or golden grain. The black bull’s head with red corns and crossed staves bearing red flags sits upon the base, and is reminiscent of the family crest of Lt. Col. J.F. Macleod, the NWMP officer who founded Fort Calgary. 

Below the shield, printed on an escroll, is the university’s motto, “Mo shuile togam suas”. This traditional motto means “I will lift up my eyes”, and is written in Scottish Gaelic in recognition of the Scottish heritage of the founders of the University. 

What once had practical origins has now become a token of symbolic significance, and is a tradition that is long kept at UCalgary. The mace is a tradition that is carried over into formal occasions, such as convocation. In early times, the mace was used first as a weapon to protect and second as a symbol of authority. In convocation, it is a symbol of the authority of the Chancellor. It represents the Crown and the authority vested in the Crown and the authority of the Chancellor to grant degrees. 

How to Tell Your Not From This School

Traditions play a unique role in the culture of student life. They teach students about the history of their institution, provide a means of building community, instill common values that span generations of students, and generate pride and enthusiasm. Knowing about your school’s traditions is one thing, but representing them as a student is another. The demand for university merchandise among the student community is undoubtedly huge. When it comes to being a student at UCalgary, school merch is a great way to build a sense of unity among your fellow students, and is a simple way of physically representing the campus community. Show your pride in your school and community with UCalgary spirit wear. Your logo is the most powerful and important symbol to represent your school! Express your ambition and passion as a student at the University of Calgary by wearing the logo, and repping your red and gold school colours proudly. On campus, these garments offer a cosy option for lecture and library attire and simultaneously showcase your school pride to other aspiring students. For those who are alumni at the University, Ucalgary hoodies continue to act as a souvenir for your study experience and symbolize a token of belonging, even long after graduation. Regardless of what stage you’re at in your post-secondary journey, a Fleece Crew has a classic look that will never go out of style, and more importantly can strengthen and preserve campus traditions simply through connecting students like you with their campus community!


Published on August 28, 2021

About Haylee Tougas

Haylee is a third-year Kinesiology student at the University of Alberta. With a minor in Community Development, she is passionate about delivering sport and free play to children and youth who are vulnerable and believes that access to physical activity for everyone is essential. On the side, she enjoys coaching soccer, volunteering, and living an active lifestyle!