Memory Lane

History of the College Crest

St. Clair College is named in honour of the Great Lakes' smallest member, Lake St. Clair. The college, like the freshwater lake, is a valuable resource that has benefited generations. The lake was named by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the determined French explorer with a dubious sense of direction. On August 12, 1679, the feast day of Saint Clare of Assisi, LaSalle led an expedition onto an unknown body of water. He called it Lac Sainte-Claire.

Later, the prow of LaSalle's ship was adorned with the carved figurehead of a mythological gryphon, thought to be very powerful and depicted with a lion's body and an eagle's head and wings.

Nearly 300 years later, St. Clair College's first president, Dr. R.C. Quittenton, asked the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, arbiter of Scottish heraldry, to design a crest and armorial bearings for the new college.

In researching the St. Clair name, the gryphon once more appeared. History indicates that following the victorious Norman Invasion of England in 1066, William of Normandy rewarded one of his army, St. Claire, with lands in Scotland. The St. Claire clan claimed the image of a segreant gryphon for their shield and coat-of-arms.

St. Clair College's coat-of-arms also bears the mighty gryphon, standing ready beneath a rose, representing Windsor, the City of Roses, enclosed in a five-point star, indicating universality. The rose is flanked by two cog-wheels, symbolizing the region's industrial power as the Automotive Capital of Canada.

A crescent ribbon at the bottom declares the college's motto in Latin: Optimum Elige (Choose the Best).

Green, white and gold are the colours of St. Clair College and its coat-of-arms, proudly worn by students, faculty and alumni.

  • St. Clair College Crest
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