The degree shank, also called the seal shank, depicts a modern re-imagination of the traditional MIT seal, ornately carved beneath a bold “MIT”. The two figures on the seal, a craftswoman at the anvil and a scholar with a book personify MIT’s motto “Mens Et Manus”, or “Mind and Hand”, which is engraved on a silky flowing ribbon at the base of the seal.
Combined with the Science and Arts volumes on the pedestal in between the two figures, it reflects the ideals of cooperation between theory and practice that have been significant to MIT’s long term mission for innovation. Encircled by laurels is the year MIT was incorporated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - 1861.
A lamp burns at the top of the volumes symbolizing graduate students’ unwavering commitment to excellence, and the flame burns in a figure of “18” to symbolize the year in which this design was made.
Finally, at the bottom of the seal is the coveted degree which every graduate student has worked so hard to attain.