Watch Spring 2019 Commencement

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The following Spring 2019 Commencement streams have been archived and are available online:


About Academic Regalia

The tradition of academic costumes probably originated in the traditions and necessities of the Middle Ages, when people dressed in keeping with their class and for their needs. Warm cloaks and hoods were needed because many of the buildings where scholars taught were cold. From the various traditions that grew up surrounding academic costumes, a code was established and subscribed to in 1894 by most universities and colleges in the United States. Now that academic costumes are prescribed, audiences can identify the institutions awarding degrees, the nature of the degrees and the faculties awarding them.

The Bachelor of Arts gown is black, closed in front with long pointed sleeves. The square Oxford cap and tassel are black. The bachelor’s hood is rarely worn.

The Master of Arts gown is black with long closed sleeves and a short slit near the elbow to free the hand and forearm. The gown is frequently worn open but may be worn closed. Both cap and tassel are black.

The doctor’s gown, usually also black, is worn open or closed, and has velvet panels five inches wide extending down the front edge to the bottom and three horizontal bars on each sleeve. Panels and bars are often black but may be a color indicating the faculty granting the degree. The doctor’s costume also includes the square Oxford cap with a gold tassel worn on the left side.

Hoods show the greatest degree of symbolism. Hoods are black with velvet borders in the color of the faculty in which the degree is granted. Thus, for the B.A. the border is white; for the B.S. it is golden yellow; for the B.D., purple; and so on for all faculties. The lining of the hood is silk in the colors of the institution granting the degree.

The bachelor’s hood is three feet long, with a two-inch velvet border; the master’s is three and one half feet long, with a three-inch velvet border. The doctor’s hood is four feet long, with a five-inch velvet border.

About The Mace
The Appalachian State University mace is carried by a senior faculty member in all academic processions. Traditionally, the mace bearer precedes the chancellor of an institution, both upon entering and leaving a ceremony. The mace serves as a symbol of authority just as it did during the Middle Ages, when a mace bearer accompanied an official taking office or opening court.

The Appalachian mace symbolizes the university’s mountain heritage, the rustic location and the sophistication of an emerging, national leader in higher education. Its design, as a walking stick with a base constructed of roughhewn log and finished molding, is appropriate to the natural environment of the area. At the top of the mace is a soaring, red-tailed hawk, native to the area. The hawk symbolizes power, authority, as well as the empowerment of education. The talons are grasping a sphere containing two quartz crystals. The first crystal represents the global nature of the university, its educational programs, alumni and students. The second quartz crystal within the sphere is a reproduction of Grandfather Mountain.

The letters ASU reliefed within the pine cone are done in black enamel and are gold plated. The various bands represent the flora and fauna native to the area. The black walnut, one of the strongest of woods, was used to symbolize the staying power of the university.

The mace was constructed by Carolina Bronze, of Asheville. Fittingly, two Appalachian students and an Appalachian graduate were involved in the production. It was commissioned by the Appalachian Alumni Association in 1994.

About The Medallion
As symbols of events and affiliation, medallions date back to antiquity. In academic regalia, the use of medallions is traced to religious orders of the Middle Ages, when a number of orders had as a badge an oval medallion. Since many orders, societies and universities utilized in their medallion designs the circle, star, oval or cross, detailed artwork in the center of the medallion was adopted to differentiate the medallions. Colleges and universities have traditionally used both ceremonial and commemorative medallions. As part of the 95th anniversary of Appalachian State University, a commemorative medallion was commissioned in 1994 and is worn by the chancellor on ceremonial occasions.

About the International ‘Green Ribbon’ Graduation Pledge
Congratulations and many thanks to all 2019 graduates who have committed to the Graduation Pledge, as denoted by those wearing green ribbons.

“I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences, and the civic and community responsibilities, of any job or career I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”

Are you now an alumnus or alumna? Alumni can still take the Graduation Pledge.

Graduation in the Holmes Convocation Center. Photo by University Communications
Published: May 13, 2019 8:40am

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