Class Shields

It has been a long standing tradition for Dominican seniors to present first year students a “shield” on which a painted design and motto are displayed. This shield is intended to help guide the new students during their time at Dominican. These shields are presented at a special celebration each year known as Shield Day.

University Shield

The Dominican shield shows a gold dog with a flaming torch in its mouth, against a black backdrop. This symbol had its origin in a dream attributed to the mother of St. Dominic: She dreamed that she would bear a child who would set the world on fire with the wonder of his preaching. 

The name of the Dominican order in Latin, Dominicanes, (domini canes) means "Hounds of the Lord."

In 1973, the Firebrand shield became the shield of the University, then Dominican College of San Rafael. The University’s motto, Veritas fax ardens, means “Truth Is a Flaming Torch.”

When unveiled at the event the shields are colorfully painted on wood. Until 1961, the shields were then turned into stained glass renditions. Now, the shields eventually take the form of hand-crafted wood carvings. The wood carvings are presented each year at Commencement.

Dominican's shields, dating back to the early 1920s, can be viewed on campus in Meadowlands Residence Hall, Guzman Lecture Hall, and Caleruega Hall, or the read the shield archives. 


Class of 2014 Shield


The Class of 2014 Senior Shield was designed by Maia Kobabe with the motto, “Celebrate the Enlightened Mind.” Read full description.