Coat of Arms
In countries such as Canada, heraldry (the use of coats of arms) is an honour from the Sovereign. In 1997, the Medical Alumni Association (MAA) petitioned The Crown for its Coat of Arms, and has the distinction of being the first alumni organization in Canada to receive a grant of Arms.
In the heraldic language of blazon, the arms of the MAA are described as Argent seme of ankhs Sable on a cross engrailed Sable, between four bezants a fusil Or, charged with a staff of Aesculapius Vert, all within a bordure counter compony Gules alternating with Azure and Or, with the crest on a helm mantled Gules and Azure doubled Or within a wreath of these colours rising from a mount Vert between two acorns Or leaved Vert, an oak tree Or leaved Vert fructed Or.
The MAA arms are derived from the Faculty of Medicine arms, to show that she is related to the Faculty. The “bordure”, or border around the shield shows cadency and descent. It borders what is the faculty coat of arms in the faculty colours of blue and red, with the addition of gold. These arms are thus distinct, yet they proclaim the relationship of the MAA to its parent body, the Faculty of Medicine. The crest shows two acorns placed on the ground around the oak tree, a reference to both being an offspring of the Faculty, as well as to the MAA motto Semper Floreat, meaning “May it Flourish Always.” The “mantling” of silk surrounding the knight’s helmet is also in the faculty colours.
The shield within the bordure is white with a black cross “engrailed” on it. This means that the cross has jagged edges. Scattered on the white background are small crosses ansata, an ancient Egyptian symbol of life, appropriate to medicine. Another medical symbol is the rod of Aesculapius, with a single snake wrapped around it. Also on the the cross are four gold roundel, which can be symbolic of medicine.
The MAA is fortunate in having the artwork for the grant documents prepared by one of the world’s preeminent heraldic artists, Mr. Gordon Macpherson, Niagara Herald Extraordinary. The MAA arms were designed by Mr. Bruce Patterson, Saguenay Herald.