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The Naval Seal


The seal of the United States Naval Academy's is its coat-of-arms. It can be found cut in stone over the main entrance of Bancroft Hall, embedded in bronze in the sidewalk near Tamanend.

USNA CrestThe coat-of-arms, or seal, consists of a hand grasping a trident, a shield bearing an ancient galley ship coming into action, an open book (representing education), and a banner with the motto "Ex scientia tridens," meaning "from knowledge, seapower." Designed by Park Benjamin, Naval Academy Class of 1867, the seal was adopted by the Navy Department on Jan. 25, 1899. The event which led to the adoption of the design was the construction of a new University Club in New York City, on the exterior of which the coats-of- arms of American colleges were being placed for decoration. Benjamin, learning that the academy had no official seal, drew several suggestions that he presented to his fellow alumni who were also members of the University Club. The design was submitted to the Navy Department for approval. The design of the seal is raised in gold, including the scroll work. The lettering, the water under the galley and the field are in blue. Senior midshipmen traditionally wear their Naval Academy rings on the third finger of the left hand with the Naval Academy seal facing outward. Upon graduation, they reverse the ring so that the seal faces inward, closest to the graduates' hearts.  The seal can be found on the Naval Academy flag, in a stained glass window in the Chapel, on every class ring since 1906, on door knobs, belt buckles, cuff links, t-shirts, blazer patches, coffee cups and numerous other ceramic, paper objects and clothing. Even the paper milk cartons used in the Midshipmen's wardroom bear the emblem.
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