Arthur Cleveland Coxe designed the seal in 1895. The Latin phrase Sigillvm Collegii Hobartiani in Civ Neo Ebor, along the margin of the seal, translates "The Seal of Hobart College in the State of New York," and Vita Lux Hominvm, the phrase on the scroll, translates "Life and Light of Mankind." Disce, the Latin word for "learn," is undoubtedly a charge to the students to excel, while 1822 signifies the date of the College's charter. On the shield, the book represents learning and education, the cross, religion. The key on the left may symbolize knowledge. The crossing key, on the right, is symbolic of the bishop's crook – a reminder of the College's founder, Bishop Hobart.
Designed by Gladys Moyer Dean '12 in 1908, the seal of William Smith College depicts a lamp, which is the traditional symbol of enlightenment and education. Greek words meaning "life" and "soul" are placed above the lamp. This suggests that the College is concerned with all phases of life and attempts to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of the students. The date of the founding, 1908, is at the base of the lamp, and the inner field is surrounded by boughs of laurel.