This is the seal used today by Bates College, adopted in the early 1990s. Bates College

First off, a seal is a design, usually round, that can be made on a die so that it can be used to emboss paper or imprint on other material, including flags, plaques, glassware and furniture.

Bates College’s seal is a type of coat of arms, typical of heraldry. One the left side, it has a pine tree with a stag at its base and on the right an open book above a base displaying a sheaf of grain. At the top is a lighted lamp.

The seal says, “Condita 1855,” which is Latin for founded in 1855.

Also included in the seal is a truncated version of Bates’ Latin motto: “Amore ac Studio.” In English, that means “with ardor and devotion.”

The wording was suggested in 1857 to Bates College founder Oren Cheney by U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an ardent abolitionist and one of the nation’s most prominent figures.

In response to a request from Cheney, Sumner offered the motto to his friend.

“I cannot suggest something better than these words,” Sumner wrote. “I once thought to have them cut on a seal of my own, but did not.”

Four years later, Sumner mentioned in another letter that he hoped the wording would prove “a fountain to the state.”

Bates College’s communications office says the seal “is used intentionally, sparingly” and only with its approval. Traditionally, it’s reserved for formal, institutional and official publishing, including diplomas. It’s also used in watermarks on college stationery and academic transcripts.

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