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