The Hofstra Gonfalons
Of the 11 gonfalons, three of the fishtail ensigns plus the Hofstra seal were first presented in University ceremonies during the dedication of the Hofstra Library in 1967. The gonfalon for the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University was added in 1970, followed by the Hofstra University Libraries gonfalon in 1993, the School of Communication gonfalon in 1996, the School for University Studies gonfalon in 1997, the Honors College gonfalon in 2001, the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University gonfalon in 2009, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Health Sciences and Human Services gonfalons, both dedicated in 2013.
The history of the ceremonial use of gonfalons seems lost in antiquity. Probably best remembered is their appearance at the head of the parades of the Crusades where they presented the coats of arms of legion commanders. The gonfalons of Hofstra carry the seals of the colleges and schools of the University.
The seal of Hofstra is worked in threads of gold, silver, red, blue and green against a background of white silk, derived from the great seal of the House of Orange-Nassau, and is at the center of the stage.
The gonfalons are displayed from left to right.
The gonfalon of Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences carries the seal of the province of Friesland, the original home of the Hofstra family. The fishtail below the seal has the colors of Hofstra, blue and gold, at the left and right, and the colors of the college, white for arts and gold for sciences, through the center.
The gonfalon of the School of Education carries the seal of the province of Groningen. The colors of Hofstra, blue and gold, trim the gonfalon, while the light blue of education is the enter color.
The gonfalon of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business carries the seal of the province of Gelderland. The University colors of blue and gold trim the gonfalon, with the traditional “drab” filling the center stripe of the fishtail.
The gonfalon of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University carries the seal of Noord Brabant province, is trimmed in the University colors of blue and gold, and carries a band of purple through the center to indicate law.
The gonfalon of the Hofstra University Libraries carries the seal of the province of Rotterdam. University colors of blue and gold trim the gonfalon. The center area carries the colors of all the colleges and schools and is overlaid with a band of lemon yellow, representing the discipline of library science.
The gonfalon of the School of Communication carries the seal of the province of Arnhem. The University colors of blue and gold trim a center panel of crimson representing communication.
The seal on the gonfalon for the School for University Studies comes from the Dutch municipality of Apeldoorn in the province of Gelderland. The white center symbolizes the arts and letters. The adjacent strips of blue and gold represent the colors of Hofstra University, and the border of red and blue is reminiscent of the colors of the flag of the modern state of the Netherlands.
The gonfalon of Hofstra University Honors College adapts the seal of the Frisian town of Tytsjerksteradiel. The gonfalon design uses the University colors in a traditional woven heraldic pattern representing the interrelationship of disciplines in Honors College.
The gonfalon of Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University carries an emblem representing the “staff of Asclepius,” the traditional symbol of medicine. It is trimmed in green to represent the discipline of medicine, and carries bands of the University’s and North Shore-LIJ Health System’s colors.
The gonfalon of the School of Engineering and Applied Science carries the seal of the House of Orange-Nassau coat of arms. University colors of blue and gold trim the gonfalon. The orange center represents the degrees conferred by the school.
The gonfalon of the School of Health Sciences and Human Services carries the seal of the province of Overijssel. The University colors of blue and gold trim the center panel of sage green representing health sciences and human services.
These badges of office and the gonfalons were designed and executed by Gabriel Jooris and family, working in cooperation with Robert D. Noble, former secretary of the University, 1954-1984. The Libraries gonfalon was designed by a committee of the Library staff under the direction of Dr. Charles R. Andrews, former dean of the Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library. It was dedicated in November 1993. The School of Communication gonfalon was dedicated during the 1996 Commencement Exercises. The gonfalon for the School for University Studies was designed by David C. Christman, former dean of the School for University Studies, and dedicated in 1997. The gonfalon for Honors College was designed by Dr. J. Stephen Russell, former dean of Honors College, and dedicated in 2001. The gonfalon for the School of Medicine was designed by Dr. Herman A. Berliner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Liora Pedhazur Schmelkin, senior vice provost for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies; and June E. Scarlett, dean for administration, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine at Hofstra University. It was dedicated in 2009. The School of Engineering and Applied Science gonfalon was designed by committee under the direction of Dr. Simon S. Ben-Avi, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and was dedicated in 2013. The School of Health Sciences and Human Services gonfalon was designed by committee under the direction of Dr. Ronald L. Bloom, acting dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Services, and was dedicated in 2013.
The Hofstra Flag and Motto
The Hofstra flag (right), bearing the seal of the University (top left and on the flag), was presented to Hofstra on April 19, 1940, by Dr. Alexander Loudon, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, in the name of Her Majesty, Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands. The seal is derived from the coat of arms of the House of Orange-Nassau.
The Hofstra University Seal and Motto
Hofstra Trustee Dr. Rusus Smith and Dutch-born Hofstra art professor Constant Van de Wall created the University seal that was adopted in December 1937.
The seal’s insignia is derived from the official seal of the reigning house of the Netherlands, the House of Orange, and is used with the permission of the Crown. The device is of two rampant lions in gold, tongues in red, on an azure field with gold blocks. Each lion wears a royal crown and holds a lifted sword in the right claw. In their left claws they carry a bundle of gold-headed arrows, held together with a ribbon of gold. The arrows represent the seven provinces of Holland.
Changes to the seal have been few. The azure background was changed to white and one of the lions was changed to a female.
At the bottom of the seal appear the words “Je maintiendray,” meaning “I stand steadfast” or “I shall stand fast,” as they do on the 1,000-year-old coat of arms of the Orange-Nassau family.
The motto and seal are reflections of the Dutch heritage of both Long Island and William S. Hofstra, for whom the University was named.