The Alderson Broaddus University Seal
The official seal bears the founding date, 1871, as well as a candle, which signifies the torch of learning an open book, the Bible, which signifies a source of knowledge and truth.  The Latin words,
Ex Obscuritate in Lucem is translated “out of darkness into light”.

The Presidential Medallion
The Presidential Medallion was presented to President Richard Creehan on August 25, 2011, during his inauguration.  The Medallion is worn by the President at all formal academic functions where regalia is required.

The Mace
In the Middle Ages, the mace was used by knights as a weapon.  However, since the 14th century the mace has been used as a ceremonial symbol of authority.

The mace used in the ceremony today is a piece carved from a single block of cherry wood by AB alumnus Mark Warner ’68.  The mace carving includes the Latin wording and symbols from the official college seal.  The case in which the mace will be displayed and stored was also made by Warner.  It bears the inscription, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Marshals and Mace Bearer
The tradition of academic marshals comes from storied English universities.  The Marshal are the chief protocol officers who coordinate the ceremonial traditions of commencement, including the processional and recessional.  Marshals are typically members of the faculty.  Student marshals help facilitate graduate processions and recessions during ceremonies.  The Mace Bearer is responsible for the school’s mace and leading the ceremonial marches.

Honorary Degrees
Honorary Degrees, higher education’s most prestigious recognition, are reserved for eminent individuals with national or international reputations.  Recipients are typically leading scholars, discoverers, inventors, authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, social activists, and leaders in politics or government.  Honorary degrees are also awarded to people who have rendered lifelong service to the university through board membership, volunteerism, or major financial contributions.  

Recipients are not necessarily graduates of the awarding institution; rather, the school often views the degree as an opportunity to establish ties with a prominent person.  At some schools, honorary degree recipients deliver the commencement and/or baccalaureate address, but this is not a requirement.  Honorary degree recipients are selected through a nomination process established by a school’s governing body, and its own trustees.

Honorary degrees are conferred “honoris causa”, a Latin term meaning “for the sake of honor”.  Honorary degrees are not Ph.D., nor do they entitle the recipient to the same professional privileges as individuals who have earned degrees.  Honorary degree recipients are properly addressed as “doctor” in correspondence from the university/college that awarded the honorary degree and in conversation.

Because honorary degrees are so prestigious, it is imperative to award them with solemnity.  Honorary degrees are often presented at commencement to take advantage of the pomp and circumstance already in place and to accommodate the largest possible audience.  

Processional
Graduates will march single file in procession; all others will march double file.  Please keep about two yards (never less than an arm's length) from the person in front of you.  This may even necessitate coming to a halt when the procession slows while the people ahead of you are being seated.  

**The order of march for Baccalaureate is: Junior Escorts, Graduates, Faculty (according to rank-emeriti, professors to instructors), Administrative Officers, and Platform Participants.  The procession will begin from the band room in Wilcox Chapel and proceed to the main chapel in Wilcox Chapel.

**The order of march for Commencement is Faculty (according to rank-emeriti, professors to instructors), Administrative Officers, Junior Escorts, Graduates, and Platform Participants.  The procession will begin from W-B where the platform participants will process to W-B and join the procession to the Coliseum for Commencement.

Academic Regalia
The academic gown, as used in America, is really a uniform.  On its historic and picturesque side it serves to remind those who don it of the continuity and dignity of learning, and recalls the honored roll of English-speaking university men.  On its democratic side, it subdues the differences in dress arising from the differences in taste, fashion, manners and wealth, and clothes all with the outward grace of equal fellowship which has ever been claimed as an inner fact in the republic of learning.
{picture of AB gown]

Hoods
Hoods are the most expressive component of the academic costume.  With modest beginnings as head-warming cowls on medieval monks’ cloaks, hoods today communicate the owner’s school, degree, and field of study through their length and the colors of the lining and binding.

Actually, today’s hoods are not really hoods at all.  Instead, they have evolved from a serviceable article of clothing to a type of elongated scarf draped over the shoulders and displayed down the back with the lining turned inside out.

Master’s degree hoods are three and one-half feet long, while doctor’s degree hoods are four feet in length.

Hoods are lined with the official school color or colors, hood linings indicate where the wearers earned their degrees.  Almost always, these are the schools’ athletic colors.  Hood linings are typically made of silk or equivalent synthetic fiber.

Binding, also called edging, trim, or borders, is the term for the velvet or velveteen sewn around the edge of the hood.  The color indicates the wearer’s field of study;  for master’s degrees, three inches, for specialist’s degrees, four inches, and for doctorate, five inches.

Faculty Colors and Tassels
Color is an important element of all academic ceremonies.  Not only does it lend beauty, its use on hoods, robes, tassels, and flags carry symbolic meaning that stretches back to the Middle Ages when color and costume conveyed to the mostly illiterate populace visual messages about rank and occupation.
In academics, the colors used to symbolize degrees earned and areas of study are referred to as “faculty colors”.  They are displayed on doctor’s gowns, edgings of hoods, tassels on caps, and flags or banners that represent each college.  The following colors are based on tradition.

•    White was assigned to the arts and humanities to recall the white fur trim used on hoods at England’s Oxford and Cambridge universities.
•   Pink, also originating at Oxford, was designed for music.
•   Russet brown, reminiscent of the dress of English foresters, is thus used by forestry.
•   Purple, the color of royalty and governance, is used by law.
•   Scarlet red, the traditional color of the church, was given to theology.
•   Green, the color of healing herbs, represents medicine.
•   Olive was assigned to pharmacy because of the discipline’s close association with medicine.
•   Golden yellow, symbolizing the sunlight or enlightenment of discovery, goes to science.
•   Blue represents wisdom and truth and therefore chosen for philosophy.
•   Dark blue was adopted by the Intercollegiate Bureau of Academic Costume and added to the Academic Costume Code in 1986 to indicate the Ph.D. degree in any discipline.

On the subject of adding colors to represent new fields of study, the code is clear, “…the fundamental guidelines of the academic costume code may be adapted to local conditions.  Such adaptations are entirely acceptable as long as they are reasonable and faithful to the spirit of the traditions that give rise to the code”.  As an alternative, black tassels are correct for any degree and offer a ready option for student earning degrees in new disciplines.  Other official Academic Costume Code faculty colors to be used for tassels, trimmings of doctor’s gowns, and bindings on hoods.

Agriculture.......................................................................................................Maize
Commerce, Accountancy, Business..........................................................Drab
Dentistry...........................................................................................................Lilac
Economics......................................................................................................Copper
Education.........................................................................................................Light Blue
Engineering.................................................................................................... Orange
Fine Arts, including Architecture..................................................................Brown
Journalism.......................................................................................................Crimson
Library Science................................................................................................Lemon
Nursing.............................................................................................................Apricot
Oratory (Speech).............................................................................................Silver Gray
Physical Education.........................................................................................Sage Green
Public Administration, including Foreign Service......................................Peacock Blue
Public Health....................................................................................................Salmon Pink
Social Work.......................................................................................................Citron
Veterinary Science...........................................................................................Gray
 
In recent years, a custom has developed of wearing the tassel on the right side before candidates receive their degrees, and then moved to the left side afterward.  Known as a “tassel ceremony,” this move is done in unison and orchestrated from the podium after all candidates have received their diplomas.  Moving the tassel has become a modern substitute for individual choosing, especially at the bachelor’s level.  The saying, “On the left when you leave”, has taken root to help candidates remember how to place their tassels.  Master’s and doctoral candidates may correctly march in the processional with their tassels on the left signifying their previous degree or degrees.

Faculty Colors on Hoods and Ph.D. Gowns
The edging, or binding, of both master’s and doctoral hoods is made of velvet in the color that pertains to the degree.  Bindings should be one color only, not divided to indicate multiple degrees.

Doctoral hood bindings can be either the color of the discipline or dark blue to represent mastery of the discipline of learning.  Doctoral gowns have velvet facings on the front and three velvet bars across the sleeves.  These bars may be either black, dark blue, or the color of the discipline to which the degree pertains.

Doctoral Gowns
Doctorates wear the most elaborate of all academic gowns, as befits their status at the highest level of scholarship.  Fuller and more flowing than masters or bachelor’s gowns, doctors’ gowns fall approximately six inches above the wearer’s ankle and have distinctive billowy, bell-shaped sleeves.
 
The only one with any trim, the doctor’s gown has a front facing of velvet and three bars of velvet across the sleeves.  These facings and bars can be either black, doctoral blue, or the faculty color of the academic discipline to which the degree pertains.

It is proper to wear the gown closed or open.  Black is the recommended traditional color.  

Master’s Gowns
The distinctive feature of the master’s degree gown is its unusual sleeves.  This peculiar design lets the hands come out at the usual place, but a long rectangular piece of cloth on the backside of each sleeve dangles to the wearer’s knees.  On the most traditional, the ends of the sleeve appendage are cut into crescent shapes.  The black gown has no trim, should reach to about six inches above the ankle, and can be worn open or closed.

Bachelor’s Gowns
Traditional bachelor’s gowns are black, fall to just above the ankle, feature a pleated yolk and twin front fabric panels, and have distinctive long pointed sleeves that are intended to have fullness and drape.  Today, most bachelor’s gowns have straight-bottomed sleeves.  The gown is designed to be worn closed.

Presidential Regalia
Based on the design of the traditional doctoral gown, presidential regalia are of the finest quality fabric and styling.  Presidents are the only academics entitled to wear a fourth velvet sleeve chevron.  Presidential regalia are retained by the school and worn only while the president is in office.  The president’s costume is completed by either a doctor’s tam and gold tassel or a mortarboard with a long or short gold or black tassel.

Trustee Regalia
Regardless of their earned degrees, members of a school’s governing body are entitled to wear doctoral gowns trimmed in black velvet.  Members of a school’s governing body wear hoods either of their own earned degrees or those “especially prescribed for them by the institution.”  Such hoods are not indicative of any degree, but instead are custom-designed to complement the gown.  Trustee hoods are four feet long, or doctor’s length.  Headgear can range from the popular choice of a velvet tam with a short gold tassel, or mortarboard with thread tassels.

Honorary Degree Recipient Regalia
Honorary degree candidates wear a black doctor’s gown with black-velvet facings and sleeve chevrons and a tam with gold tassel, or a mortarboard with either gold- or black-thread tassel.  He or she is hooded with the school’s doctors’ hood trimmed in the appropriate faculty color.  

Mortarboards and Tams
No one knows for certain how mortarboards came to be part of the academic costume, but there are several plausible theories.  Where the actual mortarboard shape came from is subject to speculation.  Regardless of how the tradition started, illustrations from Oxford in 1674 show a scholar wearing a mortarboard little different from ours today.  The mortarboard is worn by all degrees.  They should be black and covered with the same fabric as the gown.  The hat is properly worn flat on the head with the pointed undercap pulled onto the wearer’s forehead.  It should be parallel to the ground, not cocked back on the head, so that the tassel can fall straight down the side of the wearer’s face.  The academic costume is not complete and correct without the mortarboard.  

In recent years, however, soft velvet tams with four, six, or eight corners have become popular, superseding the mortarboard as the headgear of choice for doctorates.  Black mortarboards, however, are still correct for doctorates to wear.  The tam is properly placed flat on the wearer’s head.  It should not be pulled too far forward onto the forehead like a beret, nor should it cling precariously to the back of the head.  The preferred color is black, although some schools’ special regalia include colored tams for doctors.

Mortarboards and tams are worn throughout the academic procession and conferral of degrees.  Men should remove their hats as a sign of respect during the national anthem, prayer, and alma mater.  Other appropriate but optional times are during the commencement address and baccalaureate sermon.  Women are not required to remove headgear at any time.  Traditionally, removal is done in unison and orchestrated by a verbal signal from the podium.

Honorary Degree Recipient Regalia
Honorary degree candidates wear a black doctor’s gown with black-velvet facings and sleeve chevrons and a tam with gold tassel, or a mortarboard with either gold- or black-thread tassel.  He or she is hooded with the school’s doctors’ hood trimmed in the appropriate faculty color.  

Flags
The flags from various states and countries are displayed in the campus center.  During commencement flags will be displayed on the platform.  The flags represent the states and countries of students who are attending Alderson Broaddus University.

Source: Harris, A.L. (2005).  Academic Ceremonies:  A handbook of traditions and protocol. Washington, DC: CASE.