The origins of the University of Costa Rica are rooted in the decrees signed in 1843, when the Casa de Enseñanza de Santo Tomás was transformed into a university.
By the end of the XIX century, Costa Rica was an oligarchic and liberal country, whose policies focused solely on primary education. Therefore, this led to the closing of the University of Santo Tomas after 45 years of operation. This same decree created the higher schools of Law and Notaries, Medicine, and Engineering. Later, the schools of Pharmacy and Fine Arts were created in 1897.
After 1890, higher education in the country was represented by professional schools and colleges that operated under the direction of their respective professional associations, as there was no higher education institution as such.
The emblem of the University of Costa Rica is the most important symbol of its identity. It is a historical legacy that recaptures the symbols of the Universidad de Santo Tomas – Costa Rica’s first university – and it reflects the highest ideal of the UCR.
The University Board, in line with article 229 of the Organic Law, in special meeting 4512, article 2, on Monday, December 20th, 1999, agreed on the following specifications for the emblem of the University of Costa Rica: “The shield will be an oval with its width being equivalent to 5/6 of its height. In this oval, over a light blue background and on the right side, there will be a mountain range, with the sun coming out behind it; on the opposite side, on the lowest part, there will be a sunflower on the ground facing the sun.