The School of Theology of the University of the South is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of this year’s Pierre de Chaignon la Rose Design Award, presented by the American Heraldry Society. The award is named for the great American heraldic designer Pierre de Chaignon la Rose (1872- 1941) who was responsible for reviving heraldry in the United States during the early 20th century. The Society’s award encourages excellence in American heraldry by recognizing those armorial bearings providing organizations with strong public identity, embodying the best heraldic design of the highest form, function and aesthetic. Nominees are corporate bodies from academic, military, civic, religious or social organizations bearing arms designed in the United States.

The arms of the School of Theology were designed in 1981 by Sewanee alumnus and professor Dr. James Waring McCrady in anticipation of the university’s 125th anniversary celebrations in 1983. McCrady also designed arms for the university and the undergraduate college, and created the “Sewanee tressure” to illustrate corporate unification within all three coats. The tressure’s name was suggested by the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland following McCrady’s design submission to that heraldic authority for peer review.

"We are grateful to the American Heraldry Society for this recognition of our arms," said the Very Rev. James Turrell, dean of the School of Theology, "and I am delighted that Dr. McCrady's beautiful design is being honored in this way. Dr. McCrady's artistic work has touched this university in a variety of ways, from sculptures to processional banners, but none is more compelling than the arms he designed for the School of Theology."

The colors red and gold are taken from the arms of the Rev. William Porcher DuBose (1836-1918) who served as the seminary’s second dean. The heraldic fleam, or surgical device, represents the student body’s dedication to St. Luke who is attributed as a surgeon. McCrady added the bar to clearly identify the school’s mission of priestly formation for the church.

“We select those arms which not only represent simple and clear designs, but more importantly are used and cherished widely by those organizations,” notes Society President Ethan MacDonald. “Heraldry in America is commonly misunderstood as its singular purpose is to provide identification.” MacDonald added, “the School of Theology was selected by a majority vote of our membership.”

Board member and Sewanee alumnus Chad Krouse T’10 nominated his alma mater and shared, “having lived and embraced these arms as a seminarian on the Domain, I wanted to honor Dr. McCrady’s design and the meaningful contributions he has made to advance heraldry in America. His ‘Sewanee tressure’ for unification forever holds a special place in scholastic heraldry.”

The American Heraldry Society was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the study and proper use of heraldry in America. Now with members from around the world committed to the mission, the Society begins its 20th year celebrating and advancing the American heraldic tradition. A formal presentation is being planned for later this spring.