NYU’s motto was originally “Perstando et Praestando,” meaning “persevering and—so eventually—excelling." It was created at the request of University authorities by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox, a member of the University Council. Because the phrase did not allude to the utilitarian as opposed to classical aspects of NYU, Dr. Cox added “Utilati.” This phrase appears along the top of the Silver Center on Washington Square East. After the move to the University Heights campus in the Bronx in 1895, Chancellor Henry MacCracken dropped the last word of the motto and altered the construction, making it “Perstare et Praestare” (to perservere and to excel). The motto has remained the same ever since.
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