To answer this question, let’s turn to the history of England, in which the symbol of the rose plays a crucial role. Between 1455 and 1485, the Royal House of Lancaster and the Royal House of York were fighting for control of the English throne. The coat of arms of both of these royal families contained roses – the coat of arms for the House of Lancaster displayed a red rose, whereas the House of York was symbolized by a white rose. This is how the conflict between these two royal families became known as the Wars of the Roses.


In 1485 Richard III lost the crown to Henry Tudor, now known as Henry VII. Henry took Elizabeth of York, Richard’s niece, as his wife and with this union the Wars of the Roses ended. The coat of arms for the House of Tudor united the two roses of the quarreling families with the symbol of a red rose with a white center. The Tudor rose is still an important symbol for England and can be found on the coat of arms for the United Kingdom and Canada.


This characteristically English symbol was one inspiration for the name ROSE College. The second inspiration has its origin in the name of the founder of ROSE College: Astrid Rose Heilmann, who studied Anglistics and has lived and taught in England.