Discussions on the University Emblem first began during the tenure of President Chen-hsing Yen. His successor, President Chao-Chung Yu, feeling the need for a symbol for the school, took up the task after assuming office. At the administrative meeting held on October 20, 1981 the method of design selection was decided upon and the process begun. A total of 75 entries were received, and after two stages of the selection process both on and off campus, three sketches were chosen and submitted to the university affairs meeting on December 27th for final deliberation. None passed muster, and opinions differed as to whether the school in fact needed an emblem. As most of those attending the meeting saw it a good idea to have one, a task force was established to work on the matter with them. Professors Wen-yueh Lin (College of Liberal Arts), Wei-zhe Yang (College of Science), Song-shi Yuan (College of Law), Tsung Ming Zheng (College of Medicine), Hung-Kai Wang (College of Engineering), and Wen-Ruey Lee (College of Agriculture) were selected as task force members.
On March 9, 1982 a joint meeting was held by the two groups to review the designs. None came in first. For further discussions with the task force on the matter three administrative meeting representatives were elected: Professors Chien-Chung Yin, Dean of Students Affairs; Chien Hou, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Chao-chen Chen, Dean of the College of Agriculture. Finally, thanks to the concerted efforts of all involved, the design submitted by Mr. Guang-yi You of the Agricultural Exhibition Hall, drawn up in accordance with suggestions provided by the task force, was approved. The design had gone through at least three administrative meetings, six ad hoc discussions and two joint sessions by the administrative meeting and the task force. As an embodiment of the university name, motto, tree and the Fu Bell, the emblem is of profound significance. When President Yu officially announced the emblem during the university's founding anniversary celebration on November 15th, he made the following pronouncement:
The National Taiwan University has long been known for its tradition, distinguished faculty, and well-equipped facilities. Over the years its graduates have made tremendous contributions to both the nation and to society. In order to enhance this valuable tradition and provide guidance to future generations, we have instilled the founding goals and philosophy of the school into the university emblem as an inspiration to all faculty and students.
- The University Motto:
"Integrity, Diligence, Fidelity, Compassion," the cornerstone of NTU philosophy and personal comportment;
- The Fu Bell:
A reminder of discipline and enlightenment; and
- The University Tree:
The royal palm as a symbol of growth and nurture; of broad vision and steadfast willpower.
The figure of the plum blossom, the blue-and-white background and the thunder-and-cloud line pattern combine the spiritual ideals of the nation and its cultural traditions, as well as those of all members of the university community.
During the afternoon reception, awards were handed out to the winners of the emblem project. Messrs. Hao-ping Sui and Cheng-Yuan Hsieh won the prize for second place, Mr. Ke-yi Yao came in third, and five others were cited for their superior designs. Worth noting is the leaf sprout on the royal palm symbolizing the school's unceasing vitality, which was a detail suggested by the task force after careful observation. A patent application on the exclusive right to use the emblem was submitted to the Bureau of Central Standards, which granted the registration (No. 9007) in November 1982, and a renewed certificate (No. 000927190) in 1997.