KSL News

Seals | Return to Symbols Compendium | Heraldic Banners

University Archives: Coats of Arms of WRU, Case, CWRU

Definition of "coat of arms": an arrangement of bearings, usually depicted on and around a shield, that indicates ancestry and distinctions.

Western Reserve University




In scarlet red and white, this coat of arms uses elements of both the Western Reserve College seal and the Western Reserve University seal. The shield, in heraldic terms, represents faith. An open book, which signifies scholarship and the Old and New Testaments, has the Hebrew character "aleph" and the Greek character "omega" on its pages. These symbols represent the Hebrew and Greek origins of Western thought. Wisdom and honor are symbolized by the sun, while its twelve rays represent the twelve original trustees of WRC. The eleven spaces between the rays signify the schools of WRU in 1951. The simplicity of the two-color design was meant "to signify the efficiency and contemporaneous viewpoint of a unified, well-ordered institution of higher learning."

Despite the approval of a design that included the Hebrew letter "aleph", the original sketch, like the one pictured here, incorrectly featured the Greek letter "Nu."

Designed by WRU's Division of Art, a committee headed by WRU president emeritus Winfred Leutner presented the coat of arms to the trustees' Executive Committee on January 11, 1951. At that same meeting, it was approved for use.

It was recommended that the coat of arms could be used on publications, advertisements, jewelry, etc. It was not to be used in place of the seal on official documents.




This is a variation of the original coat of arms, but also features the date "1826" below the shield. The date 1826 refers to the establishment date of WRC.




This is much the same as the previous WRU coat of arms, but with several additions that move the design away from the simplicity of the first. The simple scarlet and white are replaced with heraldic colors. The background of the book is azure blue, which denotes truth, the book remains white, and the sun and its rays are golden. The date "1826," in black, has been incorporated into the shield.

The Greek letter "Nu" is replaced by the Hebrew letter "aleph."

The May 20, 1954 edition of the student newspaper, Reserve Tribune, described the changes to the WRU coat of arms. The motivation for these changes is unknown.




This coat of arms exhibits the optional feature of crossed olive branches, which implies peace and achievement.




This coat of arms exhibits the optional feature of a ribbon that reads "Western Reserve University."

Case School of Applied Science / Case Institute of Technology




In the shape of a shield, this coat of arms features many symbols related to industry. The white fields display the activities and ideals of the school, while the brown fields suggest the results and benefits of these activities.

In the upper left corner of the shield, the star symbolizes pure science and the high ideals of the school's founder, Leonard Case, Jr. Diagonal from the star, the target represents the applied sciences. In the lower right white space, the clarion (with bells rather than pipes), an ancient musical instrument, "recognized the inclusion of the classics, and the various cultural subjects in the curriculum." In the opposite corner from the clarion is a drafting instrument.

In the brown field in the upper right corner, industry is represented by the gear, while the building symbolizes engineering structures. In the lower left corner, the shield over the eagle suggests the defense of the nation.

The letters spelling Case are brown.

Professor of Engineering Drawing, Oliver M. Stone, designed the coat of arms. It was approved by Case trustees' Executive Committee on September 17, 1942.

It was to be used on jackets and stationery, as well as "other places where its decorative effect can be appreciated."

Case Western Reserve University




The shield represents faith, while wisdom and honor are signified by the golden sun. The star stands for science. The crossed laurel branches represent achievement and academic honors. The date 1826 signifies the establishment of WRU.

Case Western Reserve University was established on July 1, 1967, through the federation of WRU and Case. WRU president John S. Millis formed an advisory ad hoc committee to design coat of arms for the new University. Millis presented the coat of arms to the trustees of CWRU, who approved it at their first meeting on July 5, 1967. The coat of arms was designed by William Ward of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Information was compiled by staff of the Case Western Reserve University Archives, November 2004.


1WI 1:4 Report, WRU Office of the Secretary, The Seal of Western Reserve University, December 7, 1950
1WI 1:4 Letter, C. Howard Allen to Carl M. Senn, 3/11/1954
2LE 1:2 Minutes, Western Reserve University Board of Trustees Executive Committee, 1/17/1951
2ND 1:1 Minutes, CWRU Board of Trustees, 7/5/1967
4PN2 3:2 ?, "Artist Designs Shield as WRU Trademark," Reserve Tribune (3/2/1951): 4
4PN2 3:5 ?, “Publications Will Don New Insignia,” Reserve Tribune (5/20/1954): 5
7PR 6:4 Press Release, Case Western Reserve University Office of Public Relations, April 1968
19BE 3:3 Minutes, Case Trustees Executive Committee, 9/17/1942
20JA 4:1 ?, “Coat of Arms” Case Alumnus (November 1942): 26-28


Seals | Return to Symbols Compendium | Heraldic Banners

Collections FAQ

Why isn't the book on the shelf?
Find out where a book is before you go to the shelf. Search the Case Catalog to see what it says like
- "Check Shelves" (look on the shelves, find it, & check it out);
- "Just Checked In" (ask staff for help, it's nearby, but too soon to be back on the shelves yet);
- "Off Campus" (out at an OhioLINK school);
- "Due mm/dd/yyyy" (it’s checked out until that date.) 
Tip: If it is not available, order an OhioLINK copy
Can I return books to a different Library?

Return Case or OhioLINK items to any Case library, yes. Case libraries have different hours, so your book might not get checked in on the day you return it if you use a bookdrop.

Return the CPL@Case-KSL books only to KSL, so the collection is here for you & others. Case libraries are not responsible for returning other local libraries’ books. Returning public library books here will not check them off of your account at those libraries.

What does "Check Shelves" mean?
"Check Shelves" means it is supposed to be on the shelf. If it isn’t there, double-check what the Case Catalog currently says to make sure that nobody else has checked it out or has kept it out too long.
How long does reshelving take?
The times are different, depending on what is being reshelved and what time of semester it is. KSL goal: to reshelve journals within 24 weekday hours, reshelve books within 48 hours. During peak times (end of semester) the time can be longer. Ask staff at the Main Service Desk for help.
How do I reserve a book?
Books are on the shelves for anyone who needs them, and are not reserved for individual use. If our book is checked out, order a copy from the OhioLINK.
Where are the UL Storage Stacks?
KSL has a university center half a mile from KSL, where lesser used or brittle books are kept, and the catalog search screen will display "UL Storage." You can visit the Center during daytime hours, or use an online request form to bring back the item to KSL. The center is now called RRCC (Retrospective Research Collections Center.)
Can I get a book or video on a specific date?
Yes, Case faculty, staff, & students can find out more details and use a convenient online request form for Book a Video or DVD  (KSL’s other collections are available only on a first-come basis for everyone, and cannot be booked ahead of time.)
What does a Book on Order mean? When will it get here?
When the catalog item displays “1 copy ordered for (library name)” the item is already in the library getting the final processing labels, etc., and will soon be on the shelf! Ask staff if there are other copies avaialable in OhioLINK in the meantime, or if you have an urgent need.
What is a PIN?
Your PIN is not assigned, you choose what it is and enter it on the Case Catalog at “View Your Library Record,” following the instructions. A Case Library PIN is a Personal Identification Number that protects your information, just like your bank ATM asks for a similar security PIN.
How do I get a library account & where can I look at it?
Case faculty, staff, and students automatically have online library accounts. You can look at it on the Case Catalog under “View your library record.” Use your library account to renew items on line and keep track of what you have checked out or ordered from OhioLINK or RRCC or Iron Mountain sites. Your Case ID is your library card!

View All FAQs

Kelvin Smith Library | 11055 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44106-7151 | 216-368-3506