University Traditions

The University of Alberta takes pride in its traditions and hallmarks. The Office of the Chancellor and Senate strives to honour and maintain these traditions.

University of Alberta Chairs

University Chairs

The Chancellor's Chair (far left) was presented to the University of Alberta as a gift from the 1922 graduating class. It is made of solid oak with a padded leather back and seat. Above the padded leather back is carved the University motto Quaecumque Vera (see below) together with the class year, 1922, and the University emblem.

In 1987, the family and friends of Dr. Charles Malcolm Macleod, Chair of the Board of Governors from 1950-1966, presented a memorial gift to the University of an oak stand for the University of Alberta Mace (see below) and two additional chairs for use by the President (far right) and the Chair of the Board of Governors (right) at Convocation.

In 2006, a fourth chair (left) was donated in memory and honour of Lois Elsa Hole, beloved Chancellor (1998 - 2000) and Lieutenant Governor (2000 - 2005), by Earl Evaniew, Sandra Kereliuk and their daughter Jennifer. This chair becomes part of the seating arrangements on stage, when the Lieutenant Governor or other high profile dignitaries attend the convocation ceremonies.

Convocation Honouring by an Elder Ceremony

In the Spring of 1996, Chancellor Lou Hyndman agreed to the First Peoples' House (formerly Aboriginal Students Services Centre) request to have an Elder on stage during convocation to recognize and honour each First Nation, Métis, and Inuit graduate, along with the opportunity to wear traditional regalia when they cross the stage.

Beaded Feathers Métis Sash Inukshuk

We congratulate and want to acknowledge the dedication and accomplishments of our First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students on their academic accomplishments by offering each Indigenous graduating student to be part of an Honouring Ceremony. In preparation for the Honoring Ceremony for our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit graduates, we would like for each of our graduates to come into the First Peoples' House (2-400 SUB) or contact us at to complete the required Convocation Honoring by an Elder Ceremony Form.

University of Alberta Cheer Song

With words written by undergraduates Chet Lambertson and Bob (R.K.) Michaels, the University of Alberta Cheer Song was created in 1935 thanks to a contest put on by the Students' Union. The music was later arranged in the 1950s by Professor Richard Eaton.

Convocation Band

Click here to hear the University of Alberta Convocation Band, under the direction of Dr. Thomas Dust, at Spring Convocation 2012. Special thanks to the Office of the Registrar's Communications Unit for this recording.


Ring out a cheer for our Alberta
A song of praise to Varsity.
For the splendour of our mountains
Our prairies green and gold.
Ranked beneath whose glowing colours,
Thy legions march enrolled.

Our memories will live forever Beloved University.
We will fight for thee and cheer
And ever hold thine honour dear.
Our Alma Mater U of A.

Green and gold! Quaecumque Vera!
Guide us through each coming era,
Guide us on through battle gory
To a new and greater glory.

University of Alberta Coat of Arms

University of Alberta Coat of Arms



In June 1994, His Excellency the Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Governor General of Canada, presented the University of Alberta with its Coat of Arms. The full Coat of Arms is displayed at ceremonial occasions such as Convocation, and is used by the Chancellor, the titular head of the University.



The symbolism of the University's Armorial Bearings (Coat of Arms) is:

  • Shield (centre) A representation of the topography of Alberta rendered in the colours of the University. At the base is a prairie wheat field symbolizing Alberta's agricultural industry. The wavy gold line above suggests the hills and rivers of Alberta and, in particular, the setting of the University campus. The top of the shield is in gold and separated from the rest of the shield by a line suggesting the Rocky Mountains. The book of learning dominates the design.
  • Crest (top) A Grand-Duc d'Amerique, or Great Horned Owl, the provincial bird and an accepted symbol of knowledge.
  • Supporters (left and right, respectively) The Pronghorn, taken from the Provincial Coat of Arms, and the golden bear, mascot of the University. Both wear collars of the University colours, as does the owl.
  • Compartment (base)A grassy mound with wild roses, the floral emblem of Alberta.
  • Motto (below base) 'Quaecumque vera' - whatsoever things are true (Phil 4:8).

Green and Gold - University of Alberta Colours

The original suggestion for green and gold University colours came from Marion Kirby Alexander, who drew her inspiration from the autumn colours of the river valley below the campus. Her husband, William Hardy Alexander, Professor of Classics, relayed the suggestion to the Faculty meeting of 5 October 1908, the Senate approved the combination of green and gold as particularly appropriate to the new University of Alberta. The green represents the wide stretches of prairie land flanked by deep spruce forests and is symbolic of hope and optimism; the gold represents the golden harvest fields and is symbolic of the light of knowledge.

GUBA and Patches

University of Alberta mascots, Patches the Panda and GUBA (Great University Bear of Alberta) the Golden Bear, sport our traditional green and gold colours.

University of Alberta Flag

University Flag

University of Alberta Grace

Hoc convivio firmati,
praecepto nostrae universitatis parentes,
constantius sequamur quaecumque vera.


Refreshed by this meal and fellowship,
obeying the precept of this our University,
let us pursue more steadfastly whatsoever things are true.

Latin Pronunciation Guide: The general rule in Latin is to pronounce every letter. 'C' is always hard like 'k', never like 's'. 'V' can be pronounced either as a 'w' (Classical pronunciation) or as the English 'v' (Medieval and Church pronunciation).

The University Grace was originally composed by Dr. William Hardy Alexander and every student and staff member in the early days of the University could recite the grace. It was said prior to meals in dining halls and was meant to convey a sense of civility during meal times.

The Grace has undergone a number of revisions over the University's history to help it embrace the secular nature of the U of A. The Grace is used before formal University meals and its current text was rewritten by former President Myer Horowitz, with the help of former Dean of Education, Herbert Coutts.

University Mace

University Mace

The University of Alberta Mace was designed and crafted specifically for the University as a gift from Dr. Francis Phillip Galbraith, Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 1964-1970. It was presented by his son, Michael Galbraith, on behalf of his father on 26 May 1970.

Among its elements are:

  • the Star of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Patron Saint of Scholars;
  • the Wild Rose of Alberta;
  • the Maple Leaf;
  • and the separate charges which make up the University's Coat of Arms.

The University motto encircles the staff. The Mace is made of sterling silver which was rhodium plated after the insertion of the various enamelled shields which make up its elements. A special electro-plate process was used to apply 24 carat gold to other parts of the Mace.

The ceremonial stand for the Mace was donated in 1987 as a memorial gift by family and friends of Dr. Charles Malcolm Macleod, Chair of the Board of Governors 1950-66, together with two ceremonial chairs for use by the President and the Chair of the Board of Governors at Convocation.

It was intended that the Mace should be modern in appearance but with medieval origins. The preponderance of visual weight at the top of the staff and the rather complex section through the metalwork at this point are reminiscent of the use of the mace as a weapon, defensive or aggressive.

The Mace is carried before the Chancellor, or Vice-Chancellor, in procession and rests on its stand in full view of the assembly during Convocation. Centuries ago the Mace was a symbol of authority over life and death. Today it represents power - but the power of knowledge and the importance of the University in the community.

Quaecumque vera - The University's Motto

Quecumque Vera

The University Motto, Quaecumque vera, is taken from the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 8:

De cetero, fratres, quaecumque sunt vera,
quaecumque pudica, quaecumque justa,
quaecumque sancta, quaecumque amabilia,
quaecumque bonae famae,
si qua virtus, si qua laus disciplinae, haec cogitate.

The same passage from the King James version is:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and there be any praise, think on these things.

Senate Chamber

Book the Senate Chamber


Located in 326 Arts and Convocation Hall, the Senate Chamber is the original oval-shaped room used for Senate meetings. The floor is hardwood and the original wainscotting is oak. The moulded ceiling needed little or no repair when the room was upgraded as part of the remodelling of the Arts Building in 1988.

Although the present-day Senate is too large to meet in the Chamber for its plenary sessions, members decided to raise money at the time of the remodelling, to ensure that the room would be appropriately furnished. An oval table, 20 leather chairs, a podium, a Wilton carpet and two modern sculptures were purchased, and the "Tory Desk" refurbished and placed in the room (and was later removed).

Currently, it is used for seminars and small meetings as part of academic programs, and Senate also uses it for a committee meetings.

Senate Chamber

What We Do

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Contact Us

Office of the Chancellor & Senate
322 Arts & Convocation Hall
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB     T6G 2E6

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