The Miami University seal includes three elements in a circle: an open book, a globe of the earth, and a telescope. These three elements symbolize the past, the present, the future.
The past, represented by the open book is the accumulated wisdom of the centuries which is passed to the present generation through their reading; note that the book is open, not closed, because only when books are open can they be read, and thus can impart to new minds lessons out of the past. As the book represents the past, the globe of the earth represents the present, signifying that people who live in various continents, countries, and cultures of the earth need to know about the rest of the world. The telescope represents the future, man's continuing quest to find meaning in the universe. Why are we here, on this particular planet, amid a galaxy of other planets and stars? The telescope is used to scan the universe and push back the frontiers of knowledge. With the circle of three elements are the three Latin words: Prodesse Quam Conspici. These words are the Miami motto, the English equivalent of which is "to accomplish without being conspicuous". The key to life is achievement, not boasting about it; we are known by what we do rather than what we claim."