About SNU / University Symbols
University Symbols /
The SNU Main Gate: 샤 (‘Sha’)
The colossal ‘Sha’ - shaped main gate is the most recognizable representation of Seoul National
University. It has served as a symbol for SNU ever since the school moved to its current location on
Gwanak campus in the 1970s. The first consonants of 국립대학법인서울대학교 (Seoul National University) -
‘ㄱ’, ‘ㅅ’, and ‘ㄷ’ - come together to form the shape of a key, which symbolizes the key to truth in “truth
is my light,” the university motto.
The Zelkova Tree
Generosity that embraces all
The zelkova tree is a symbol of strength and generosity. It is known for its fine timber and beautiful
texture, leading to its common use in woodworking. It is a tree that represents the spirit of ancient times
due to its resilience against pests and disease as well as its elegant leaves and stems. The vitality of the
zelkova tree is in line with our founding philosophy: the willingness to contain the world’s wisdom in a
hall of learning, and to continue this practice for the future. The school embraces the world as widely as
the shade of the tree’s lush branches, and will keep the spirit of knowledge as lofty as the upright trunk of
the zelkova tree.
The soaring spirit of dignity
The image of a pure white crane soaring high in the air represents SNU’s determination to rise above
the tangled concerns of worldly life and focus solely on academic excellence.
The Crane Couple
This sculpture was made on October 14, 1988 to mark the 52nd anniversary of the university.
Created by SNU alumnus Lee Hyung-kuk (Department of Economics 1960-68) and built by Emeritus
Professor Eom Tae-jung (Department of Sculpture), the sculpture measures 540cm x 540cm x 740cm
and shows the widely spread wings and legs of a crane. The body of the sculpture was made with
bronze while the pedestal was made with yellow stone. ‘Together into the Future,’ is etched into the
sculpture in the handwriting of former president of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung.