William & Mary's Griffin is a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. The coat of arms of King William and Queen Mary was adorned with lions, and the lion's body of our mascot evokes our historic royal founding and early history. The eagle's head of the Griffin suggests the national symbol of the United States and represents the presidents, leaders and productive citizens whom William & Mary has educated for centuries.
William & Mary is one of only two U.S. colleges or universities granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds in London. Our mascot, the Griffin, is often depicted in British heraldry.
With its eagle's head and lion's body, the Griffin is a rare and wondrous construct. It evokes William & Mary's own uniqueness:
- William & Mary is a Public Ivy.
- We number both Thomas Jefferson and Jon Stewart among our alumni.
- Academic and athletic excellence go hand-in-hand at William & Mary to an extraordinary degree.
- Though born in 1693, W&M remains vibrantly alive in the 21st century.
Our students use the breadth of a liberal arts education to create their own W&M experience. Chemistry majors write poetry for the literary magazine, business majors volunteer in soup kitchens and football players star in Shakespeare.
The Griffin aptly symbolizes our Tribe athletes. The lion's strength and the eagle's vision suggest the union of strength with intelligence that characterizes more than 500 Tribe athletes, who compete on 23 Division I teams, while simultaneously thriving in a rigorous academic program that has no place to hide.
Throughout history, the Griffin has been known as a guardian of treasure. Our mascot, the Griffin, stands watch over William & Mary — the Alma Mater of the Nation, cherished by generations of her sons and daughters.