What's in a Rose?

Sweet Briar College is known for its academic environment and its beautiful campus. The symbol that defines both is the rose and the accompanying motto, "She who has earned the rose may bear it." On the traditional seal, the rose is positioned three across as the image references from a 1938 publication. The seal was originally designed by Dr. John M. McBryde, the head of the English department, in 1905.

The seal consists of the Fletcher and Amherst arms quartered with three Tudor roses above. The arms of Lord Amherst are three tilting spears, gold with silver tops on a red field. The Fletcher arms, which used to hang in Sweet Briar House, were a silver cross on a black field with four bezants each charged with an arrow.

It was customary when a family married into another either to divide the shied in half, thus dividing the two coats of arms and placing them side by side; or to quarter the arms, with those of the more important family appearing on the right. As Lord Amherst, from whom the county takes its name, was Governor-General of the British forces in North America, and for some years the Governor of Virginia, it seems appropriate that his arms should be quartered on the shield.

The Tudor roses symbolize Sweet Briar, though not the color of the Sweet Briar rose, for pink is not a proper heraldic tint. The roses on the shield are red in a gold field.

As a background to the super-imposed shield, is twined a rise vine, which supports the scroll bearing the motto... The motto is an adoption of the motto of Lord Nelson, "Parmour qui meruit fert." In its present form, "Rosam quae meruit ferat," it signifies that those who wear the Sweet Briar rose must be mindful of the obligation, and be worthy to bear it." (The alumnae news publication, Dec. 1938)

It is this history that we adopt into the current Sweet Briar brand. The tudor rose has been isolated as the emblem of Sweet Briar College — because of its importance attached to the motto and the seal, as well as the lore of the Fletcher family having planted sweet briar roses on the property. It represents the academic integrity and the commitment of Sweet Briar as a learning community to prepare students to change the world wherever their passions lead them.

The brand also includes vines as in the traditional seal, and the greens, golds and browns that reflect on this early imagery that helped define the College. 

For examples of ways we've worked out the Sweet Briar brand, please see the Viewbook on the home page of our marketing website.


(Since all publication need to be worked through the media, marketing, communications office, logos are not presented for download. If you need to begin a project or have reason to send a logo to a vendor, sponsor, organization, etc, please contact us and we'll gladly service your request.)