Seal

The UNC Board of Trustees first adopted a school seal in 1791. The seal featured the face of the god Apollo and his symbol of the rising sun as being "expressive of the dawn of higher education in our State." It also included the Latin words "Sigal Universitat Carol Septent," translated as "Seal of the University of North Carolina." The Apollo seal was used on official documents for the next century. It was changed slightly in 1895, showing Apollo's face in profile, before being changed more dramatically in 1897. Under the direction of University President Edwin Alderman, the new seal included a shield with a diagonal band and the words "Lux Libertas," Latin for light and liberty, which became the university's motto. This apparently simple design was the subject of controversy due to the direction of the diagonal band on the seal. In what was probably a simple accident, the band crossing the shield was placed in a different direction than those that appear on most standard family crests. This alternate band, known as a "bend sinister," was believed by many to signify illegitimacy. The outcry over the incorrect band was persistent enough that the university formally changed the design of the seal in 1944.