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Commencement

Girl in cap and gown Tradition and Symbolism

With roots dating back to the 14th Century, academic regalia has a rich tradition. In 1895, academic institutions in the United States adopted a code of academic regalia, which has been revised from time to time. The regalia of institutions in other countries vary, and there is not a worldwide code, but the basic elements are present in all academic costumes.

Gowns

The associate gown is silver in color and features a traditional design. The bachelor’s gown is black and has a pointed sleeve. The master’s gown has an oblong sleeve open at the wrist (some older gowns may be open near the upper part of the arm.)  The doctoral gown has bell-shaped sleeves, full-length velvet panels on the front, and three velvet crossbars on each sleeve in black, blue, or the color distinctive to the degree. Gowns for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are dark blue, and gowns for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) are light blue.

Hoods

The hood, draped over the shoulder and down the back, indicates the subject to which the degree pertains and the university that conferred the degree. The level of the degree is indicated by the size of the hood. The velvet binding of the hood is the color designating the subject of the degree. The satin lining of the hood indicates the university conferring the degree.

Caps

The mortar board is commonly used, and is black for those receiving a bachelor’s degree and silver for those receiving an associate degree. The tassel fastened to the center of the cap is normally worn in the left front quadrant of the cap after a degree is conferred. Students receiving degrees in the liberal arts wear white tassels. Students receiving degrees in business and technology wear drab tassels. Students receiving degrees in mathematics and sciences wear bright gold tassels. Faculty tassels may be black, gold, or the color appropriate to the subject of the degree. The tassel for the doctoral cap may be of gold thread.

Honors Stoles

Rogers State University honor graduates wear stoles according to the following criteria:

Honor GPA Stole Color
Summa Cum Laude 4.0 Blue
Magna Cum Laude 3.9 Red
Cum Laude 3.6 White

Student Honor Cords

An Honor cord is traditionally a token consisting of twisted cords with tassels on either end awarded to members of honor societies and academic programs. Sashes, stoles, or medallions may be given in place of cords. Unlike hoods and stoles, by tradition more than one cord may be worn at the same time.

Group Token
RSU Honors Program Medallion
RSU President's Leadership Class Medallion
Psi Chi, International Honor Society in Psychology Tri-color Medallion and Silver Stole
Sigma Beta Delta, International Business Honor Society Green/Gold Cords and Stole
Alpha Chi, National Interdisciplinary Honor Society Medallion with Green/Blue Ribbon
National Student Nurses Association Blue and White Cords
Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education (Cameron) Green/Purple Cords, Medallion and Gray Sash with Black Embroidered logo

Gonfalons

The gonfalon, a flag that hangs from a crosspiece or frame, originated in the medieval republics of Italy as an ensign of the state of office. Gonfalons have been adopted in many universities around the world as college or institutional insignias. The gonfalons displayed represent the three academic schools of Rogers State University. The colors of the University - blue and red - are joined together at the lower portion of the flags, representing the foundation of studies common to each school. The upper portions of the gonfalons feature the designated colors and symbols identifying each academic school within the institution. The gonfalons were designed by James Randall Riggs, B.A., '03.

RSU Gonfalon for The School of Liberal Arts features the designated academic color of gold at the top. The books are symbolic of a life informed by learning, leading to a gateway representing academic achievement and enlightenment. The School of Liberal Arts provides the foundation, vision, and leadership necessary for students to reach their academic potential and to prepare for the steps, challenges, and rewards of lifelong learning.The School of Liberal Arts features the designated academic color of gold at the top. The books are symbolic of a life informed by learning, leading to a gateway representing academic achievement and enlightenment. The School of Liberal Arts provides the foundation, vision, and leadership necessary for students to reach their academic potential and to prepare for the steps, challenges, and rewards of lifelong learning.

RSU Gonfalon for The School of Business and Technology is distinguished by a gray bar at the top of the gonfalon. The image of the globe symbolizes the dynamic world marketplace and global economy of today and tomorrow as well as the wide-reaching effect of the disciplines of business. It also symbolizes a world made smaller by computer technology.The School of Business and Technology is distinguished by a gray bar at the top of the gonfalon. The image of the globe symbolizes the dynamic world marketplace and global economy of today and tomorrow as well as the wide-reaching effect of the disciplines of business. It also symbolizes a world made smaller by computer technology.

RSU Gonfalon for The School of Mathematics, Science, and Health Sciences features the color of sage green at the top of the flag with symbols representing each of the disciplines within the school. The various symbols represent the disciplines located within the school, including the endeavor of scientific research, shared by all disciplines and focused on the betterment of life. The torch and eternal flame symbolize the caring, knowledge, and leadership of the health sciences.The School of Mathematics, Science, and Health Sciences features the color of sage green at the top of the flag with symbols representing each of the disciplines within the school. The various symbols represent the disciplines located within the school, including the endeavor of scientific research, shared by all disciplines and focused on the betterment of life. The torch and eternal flame symbolize the caring, knowledge, and leadership of the health sciences.

Cameron University Gonfallon for Education

The Department of Education at Cameron University includes a blue bar at the top of the gonfalon, which is the traditional academic color that represents education, and black and gold at the bottom, which are the colors of Cameron University. The book and lamp symbolize a love for learning and the lifelong quest for knowledge. The Department of Education prides itself on preparing future teachers to be caring, competent and committed educators.

MaceMace

The mace, made of wood, symbolizes the authority of the faculty in academic matters and the practice of shared governance within the university. During the Middle Ages, the mace was an effective weapon in battle. As newer and more powerful arms were developed, its military significance diminished and it was transformed into a symbol of authority. The earliest ceremonial maces were borne by bodyguards of the 12th century English and French kings. By the end of the 16th century, they were used widely by officials of English cities and towns. Today, the use of the ceremonial mace is found in the British Houses of Parliament and it is carried before ecclesiastical dignitaries and in university ceremonies.

Mace Bearer

Carrying the mace has long been a commencement tradition at Rogers State University. Each year, a veteran faculty member bears the mace and leads the commencement processional. In recent years, that veteran has been Professor Gary Moeller, Head of the Department of Fine Arts, who has been with RSU for 32 years. This year Moeller will carry the mace, which he designed. The mace was crafted by Jerry Emanuel, a Claremore artist. The mace is six-foot walnut staff featuring the gold dome of Preparatory Hall at the top and the university seal on four sides. Five stripes at its base signify the institution’s various incarnations, including the Oklahoma Military Academy and the present-day university.

Rogers State University Alma Mater

Rise above the Claremore valley
Camelot to view,
Stands our gracious alma mater
Thrusting t’ward the blue.

Lift the chorus, speed it onward
For the Red and Blue,
Hail to thee our alma mater
Hail to RSU!