University of Sussex Special Collections and Mass Observation Archive Blog

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Be Still and Know – where does our motto come from?



The University of Sussex Motto “Be still and know” was adopted in 1961 during the second year of teaching at the University – a year when student fees were only £55!  It is a quote from the Bible (Psalm 46:10); the whole sentence reads: “Be still and know that I am God”.   I recently found a small folder of correspondence that shed some light on the origins of the motto and its meaning.  In response to a curious enquirer, Lord Fulton revealed in a telephone conversation that he was discussing the issue in the Scottish Hills with friends and felt it was particularly apt for education on the new green campus at Falmer.  He also chose it for its relation to the Cartesian logic of doubt – one for the philosophers to think about!

This memo sheds some light on the choice of the University's Motto

One Response to “Be Still and Know – where does our motto come from?”

  1. Adrian Hale says:

    Such a pity to have replaced a motto with such cultural resonance with a meaningless corporate logo!