The original crest and an artist's sketch of the revised crest.
SFU's new coat of arms
February 7, 2007
The combination of SFU's name with the crosses on the coat of arms tends to confuse students and others from abroad, says VP-university relations Warren Gill. He adds it is often assumed SFU is an American-style, private religious university.
"If our name was the University of Burnaby, it probably wouldn't have conveyed the same thing. But being named for a person, and with the crosses, it has always caused some confusion internationally."
SFU never in fact requested crosses on its original coat of arms. It asked the chief Scottish herald — the Lord Lyon King of Arms — for permission to use the coat of arms of the Clan Fraser's chief.
The clan chief approved, but the Lord Lyon did not. The herald chose instead to add a top field to the arms, containing a book and the two crosses, because they had been on the coat of arms of an early MacDonell clan member who had married a Fraser chief.
SFU is now registering both its original coat of arms and the revised version, with the three books, with Canada's chief herald — an office that didn't exist 40 years ago.
Both coats of arms will be retained for limited formal uses. The new SFU logo, with its three white initials on a red block, will be the general rule for all forms of print and web communication.