History of the VMI Coat of Arms, Motto, Seal and Spider Logo
The Coat of Arms: The VMI Coat of Arms was designed and authorized by the U. S. Army's Institute of Heraldry in 1961-1962. It bears the motto Consilio et Animis - By Wisdom and Courage. This is not the same as the official VMI motto. View design & detailed description.
In Pace Decus, In Bello Praesidium
"In Peace a Glorious Asset, In War a Tower of Strength"
The official motto of the Institute was adopted by the Board of Visitors on June 28, 1876 at the request of VMI's first Superintendent, Francis H. Smith. This action was reaffirmed by the Board in 1969.
The image on the VMI Seal is the same as that on the obverse of the Seal of Virginia. It features the Roman goddess Virtus standing over a defeated opponent. She represents the virtues of heroism, righteousness, freedom, and valor and stands in a classical victor's pose over a fallen tyrannical foe, whose crown lies on the ground. Where the Seal of Virginia bears the words Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants), the VMI Seal has the inscription Virginiae Fidem Praesto (Faithful to Virginia). This expression was often referred to as VMI's motto during the period 1841-1875; however it was never officially adopted as such. The seal is used in ceremonies and on building plaques and various official documents.
The Logo (VMI Spider)
The modern VMI logo is shown at left; it first became popular as an athletic monogram in the early 20th century. However, the use of the three intertwined initials dates to the post-Civil War period, when elaborate designs were often featured on dance and graduation invitations.