Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban life; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


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APRIL 30, 2012 4:43PM

University Mottos: A Trip Around the World

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By Daniel Rigney

In our last episode we went looking for distinctive college and university mottos in the United States.  Now we embark on a grand tour abroad, visiting universities around the world in search of fresh and  unusual words of wisdom.

 “I Am Still Learning.” -- Monash University, Australia  [from Michaelangelo].

“And Gladly Teche” – Macquarie University, Australia [from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: “Gladly would he learn, and gladly teach."]

“Out of Wisdom Comes Moderation” – University of New England, Australia [Text to self: Forward this message to Tea Party.]

“Through Knowledge, You Win.” – University of Sao Paulo, Brazil [Make your own editorial comment here.]

“Mind Over Matter” – Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Canada.  [At Darmstadt in Germany and Einhoven in the Netherlands, mind “drives” or “moves” matter.]

“What You Do, Do Well,” Saint Mary’s University, Canada  [I wonder if it’s also true that “What’s not worth doing is not worth doing well.”]

“Work Is Our Joy” Universidad de Santiago, Chile  [Depends on the work, I guess, and on the worker.]

“The Sea Encompasses Hundreds of Rivers” – Sichuan University, China

“Not Going Forward Is Going Backward” – UESS, Equador

“Knowledge Builds Bridges” – Technische Universitat Dresden [Unfortunately for Dresden, it also firebombs bridges.]

“Small but Excellent” – Universitat Potsdam, Germany

“Dedication to Work and Study. Deal With Others Cheerfully and Harmoniously” – City University of Hong Kong, China

“Above All, Be Human” – Visvesaraya Technological University, India

“Intelligent. Tough. Creative.” – Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Indonesia

“The Future Has Been Here” -- Sapienza University of Rome, Italy [Did you happen to see which way it was headed?]

“Acts of Kindness for Humankind” – Hangik University, South Korea

“Foolish is He Who Seeks Only to Emulate His Father” – University of Antanarivo, Madagascar

“The Best Teachers for the Best Students” – ITAM, Mexico […and the worst teachers for the worst students?  Where does that take us?]

“Study in Doubt, Act in Faith” – Universidad Juarez, Mexico [When in doubt, twist and shout -- The Beatles.]

“Wisdom Is Preferable to Gold” – Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand [Not the motto of Harvard Business School]

“Theory, Poetry, Action” – University of Aveiro, Portugal  [But does it lead to Gold? HBS]

“Here We Stay in Peace” – St. Petersburg State University, Russia [until Putin comes after us]

“Good Hope” – University of Capetown, South Africa

“Dare to Think” or “Dare to Know” – Universidad de Huelva and UIMP, Spain. [Also Kant]

“Prepared for Both” – Lund University, Sweden  [… a cryptic one]

“A Tradition of Invention. An Invention of Tradition” – University of Gothenberg, Sweden

“I Fear a Man With a Single Book” – Hacettepe University, Turkey

“Technical Skill is Bereft Without Culture” – Swansea University, UK

“After the Clouds, the Sun” – Universidad del Zulia, Venezuela

“The University of the Future” – Universidad Simon Bolivar, Venezuela


Share one of your own, or make one up!


*This “Wikipedia Digest” article is based mainly on Wikipedia’s lengthy international "List of University Mottos” from 57 nations.  I have no one but myself to blame for its editorial selections and commentary.



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Thank you so much, I had been awaiting these. I love, love as much as your inserted editorials .
I can translate Hacettepe's since I speak Turkish, but I'm still going to look it up for exactness. And a last point to keep it short, I was tickled by the University of Indonesia's motto, “Intelligent. Tough. Creative.”, and equally grateful to the Grammar and Spelling advocates. Can you imagine if punctuation were omitted and "Tough" were misspelled in that?
Thank you again for your comment, F. You may have seen in my comment on your previous comment that McGill's motto is "By Work All Things Increase and Grow." I remember reading that you are originally from Turkey. I love Hacettepe's motto.

Re the Indonesian university's motto: "Intelligent Though Creative"? As in: "A bright person, but a little too creative for my taste"?
No, not As in: "A bright person, but a little too creative for my taste"?, but more as if implying that one might negate the other.

Is it possible to find the motto of Istanbul Technical University? That was Babacim's alma mater. Thank you.
Found it! A search of [ motto istanbul technical university ] turns up "Asirlardir Cagdas" (plus diacritical marks), translated in English as "Pioneer Through the Ages." I see that Turgut Ozal is among its alums.
I like "Pioneer Through Ages". It's a good one I think. Many Turkish leaders somehow come from engineering backgrounds rather than law or economics. Süleyman Demirel, one time prime minister was from Babacim's graduating class.

Thanks again, this was very delightful.
Mine was "Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched." I remember a 1970s "don't walk on the grass" sign that it spawned, that said, in Latin, of course: "Let grass grow from more to more, ..."

Now that's a motto!
I like it, n. The motto sounds like a couplet from a 19th c. English romantic poem. I'm going to see if I can track it down.
Well, I half-nailed it. The first half is a line from Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam." The second half seems to have been added by the University of Chicago to form a melodious motto.
A comprehensive and fascinating list, no doubt, but equally interesting are the mottoes that got rejected:

“Mime Over Matter”. Rejected by Karl Rove's American Crossroads superpac

“Foolish is He Who Seeks Only to Emulate His Father, But Even More Foolish is He Who Seeks Only to Dominate His Father." Rejected by George W Bush Presidential Library

“Wisdom Is Preferable to God”. Rejected by Oral Roberts University, Liberty University, Bob Jones University, et al

“Technical Skill is Bereft Without Culture, Technical Skill Without Conscience is Wall Street". Rejected by Harvard Business School

“Work Is Our Ploy”. Rejected by the Republican National Committee

“Good Hype”. Rejected by Faux News

“Prepared for Bath”. Rejected by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform

“After the Clowns, the Son”. Rejected by Mitt Romney Campaign
Hilarious! All suitable for adoption by the Clown College.
Though we teach all we know, you must learn how much more you may never know.

If We But Open One Mind, We Have Succeeded.

Don't Seek Knowledge; Seek the Truth.

Okay, that's all I can riff off the cuff in a few minutes. I don't have any idea what snappy little titles from where they might be, but I was going for lofty, slightly abstract enlightened ivory tower stuff.

I loved the mottoes, though some of them are a bit more obtuse than mine, I daresay. Can't wait for the next installment.

Thanks, d. As a teacher for many years, and still a learner, I'd be the first to agree that the more we know, the more we know we don't know.