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The University Seal

The Importance of Our Seal

The university seal is formal insignia and is reserved for use on our most official documents and communications. It is an important part of our university’s heritage and is a symbol of our origin, mission and philosophy.

Anatomy of the Seal

Since Cal Poly's founding in 1901, the university seal has evolved from the California seal and the CSU system seal. In the development of our seal, the following elements were incorporated from the CSU system seal.

Cal Poly Seal

CSU Symbolism

  1. THE LAMP Symbolizing the light of wisdom, intellect and good works, the lamp has long been associated with higher education and illuminates the state of California. It can also provide a gateway to another plan, as in the story of Aladdin.
  2. THE OPEN BOOK This represents literacy, scholarship and learning. It also symbolizes the passing down of knowledge to future generations. 

Cal Poly Symbolism

The university seal also includes a number of elements that have symbolism specific to Cal Poly.

  1. DISCERE FACIENDO The Latin phrase “Discere Faciendo” represents Cal Poly’s mission (Learn by Doing). 
  2. BINARY SYSTEM This signifies the fundamental information technology that binds all of Cal Poly’s academic disciplines to one another and to the rest of the world. It also repeats Cal Poly’s founding date (1901).
  3. ATOM A stylized atom depicts Cal Poly’s emphasis on the sciences as a basis for applied technology. 
  4. QUILL PEN AND HAMMER This represents the balance of practice and theory inherent in Cal Poly’s educational philosophy.
  5. WHEAT GRAIN The wheat Grain symbolizes Cal Poly’s origins and its continuing position as a national leader in agricultural education. 

Use of the University Seal

The university seal is reserved for official administrative materials such as diplomas, certificates, transcripts and documents produced by the offices of the president and provost. To request permission to use the seal, email University Communications and Marketing.