The emblem that represents Seoul National University is a dark blue insignia of a laurel entwined with a crossed pen and torch standing behind an open book and a shield. On the opened pages of the book, the motto reads ‘VERITAS LUX MEA’ Latin for ‘The Truth is My Light’. Above it hangs the shield with the seal of school’s main gate, symbolizing ‘ㄱㅅㄷ'. the first Korean consonants of each word from 국립 서울 대학교 (Seoul National University). The laurel symbolizes the honor and glory of learning, and is used to illustrate that Seoul National University is the indisputable leader in academia. The pen and the torch stand for the university’s determination to lead the nation’s development through education and research.
The insignia overall signifies the school’s will to lead the future through education and the pursuit of truth. This emblem is believed to have been first made around 1947~8 after the school was founded. At first, each college had their own unique symbol but they were unified in 1955. The symbol of the school’s main gate was added later on, and indigo blue was designated as the exclusive color for Seoul National University in 2006.
The huge triangular main gate of the school is the most widely known monument to represent Seoul National University. The main gate became a symbol of the university when the school moved to its current location in Gwanak in 1975. It was based on a sketch from a student of the university majoring in art. Designed with the first consonants of each word of 국립 서울 대학교 in Korean, the gate resembles the shape of a key. The key symbolizes the school’s determination to pursue the virtue it states in its motto ‘Veritas Lux Mea.’
The gate was refurbished in 2006 to celebrate the university’s 60th anniversary. The color was changed from yellow to a light silver gray, and lights were placed around the gate to illuminate this famous structure in the nighttime. These changes were made to signify that Seoul National University is an educational facility welcoming all and to underscore the university’s role as the leading hall of learning moving forward day and night. Serving as the school’s landmark, the main gate shines throughout the night as the key to pursuing virtue.
The zelkova tree as Seoul National University’s school tree symbolizes the virtues of open-mindedness and generosity. In any town in Korea, there existed a resting place under a zelkova tree. The tree, embodying people’s wishes for the town’s well-being, unity and peaceful existence, often provided shade for people to rest under with its fully grown branches and leaves. Zelkova trees are found growing naturally in all corners of Korea, and are known for their longevity, sometimes living as long as a thousand years. They are known to be one of the best trees of all, because of their supreme quality and beautiful wooden texture.
Because of this, they are often preferred as the material to be used for woodcraft. Zelkova trees have strong immunity against diseases and have clean leaves and stems that were considered to represent scholarly qualities in the past. The longevous and generous characteristics of zelkova trees resemble Seoul National University’s fundamental beliefs: the determination to embrace the entire world’s wisdom as an academic leader and to carry on this determination forever. The school respects the sublime values of a scholar akin to the solid and bold branches of the tree and is prepared to embrace ideas of the world like the wide canopy of the zelkova tree’s branches.
The initials of Seoul National University, SNU, are designed into various designs and are used to represent the University's Identity.
I love SNU The heart that holds the letters S, N, U signifies a harmonizing SNU.
Diversity The three letters of S, N, and U in different sizes, located within a square box signifies SNU people leading the world in various ways, both big and small.
Dynamic SNU As the beating of drums gets louder after each beat, the letters grow bolder, signifying the dynamic force behind SNU.
With a pure white body, black flight feathers, a red crown, and a thin, long neck and legs, cranes have been a friendly bird for the Korean people. Known for nobility and dignity in their appearance, cranes have always made people stand in awe of their beautiful figure as they stand on only one leg while sleeping. Scholars in the Joseon Dynasty tried to embody the virtues that the cranes represent and they embroidered the bird’s figure onto the robes for civil servants. Because cranes symbolize longevity, clothes with the bird embroidered on them were given to one’s parents on their 60th birthday. Moreover, cranes are well known for their habitude of enjoying peace in transcendental tranquility even in the face of vulgarity.
These gracious figures and the way they spread their wings and fly make cranes an excellent embodiment of what the future of academic studies should represent. Seoul National University longs to emulate cranes’ sophistication and noble character in their pursuit of academic excellence, rising above the vulgar interests of the world.
In 2006, marking its 60th anniversary, Seoul National University unveiled a special emblem and slogan to specify its goals for the future. The emblem, designed with the slogan for the anniversary (‘Leading the Way: 겨레와 함께 미래로’) and the school bird (the crane), along with a torch in the shape of the number 60, illustrates the university’s vision to lead in the 21st century. Also, it stands for the school’s passion to seek the truth and the determination to transcend national boundaries and become a global leader. Finished in iridescent shades, the multi-colored emblem symbolizes the school embracing diversity through globalization and open-mindedness as a global leader. In addition, ‘60th Anniversary Seoul National University’ is written in bold print to emphasize the dependable character of the university.