The university seal was created to celebrate the institution's new status in 1928 when the Drew Theological Seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church added Brothers College (now the College of Liberal Arts) and changed its name to Drew University. This 1928 seal replaced an earlier one in which the words "Drew Theological Seminary 1866" encircled a bust of the school's founder, Daniel Drew. According to the minutes of trustee meetings, design and adoption of the new seal required only two months. The seal designers, directed by President Ezra Squier Tipple, left no explanation of its symbolism, but the tree in the center surely represents Drew's mighty oaks and The Forest, so named from before the Revolutionary War. The placement of the book, probably the Bible, on the tree suggests the Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge, both apt associations. The Greek inscription from the New Testament, Matthew 10:8, is the university motto: "Freely have you received, freely give." The reference to 1868 can be confusing. Although the university dates its founding from 1866 and the beginning of instruction, Drew was not officially incorporated until 1868. From the seal's adoption until 1961, it was Drew's most prominent emblem. Although the trustees designated the University Shield as the university's symbol after 1961, the seal is still used on all official documents requiring it, including all diplomas.
Courtesy of the Drew University Archives