Commencement is a celebration filled with pageantry and tradition. Some of these date back to medieval times; other elements are more recent and unique to Endicott College. Here is a quick guide to help you and your family better understand various elements involved in the ceremony.
The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. With few exceptions, the medieval scholar had taken at least minor orders and made certain vows. In the days of Henry VIII of England, Oxford and Cambridge first began prescribing a definite academic dress and made it a matter of university control even to the extent of its minor details.
The gown for the bachelor’s degree has squared sleeves. It is designed to be worn closed. The gown for the master’s degree has an oblong sleeve, open at the wrist, like the others. The sleeve base hangs down in the traditional manner. The rear part of its oblong shape is square cut, and the front part has an arc cut away. The gown for the doctoral degree has bell-shaped sleeves. Gowns for bachelor’s or master’s degrees are untrimmed. For the doctoral degree, the gown is faced down the front with velvet; three bars of velvet are used across the sleeves. These facings and crossbars may be of velvet of the color distinctive of the disciplines to which the degree pertains, thus agreeing in color with the binding or edging of the hood appropriate to the particular doctoral degree in every instance.
The length of the hood worn for the bachelor’s degree must be three feet, for the master’s degree three and one-half feet, and for the doctoral degree, four feet. The hood worn for the doctoral degree only shall have panels at the sides. The hoods are lined with the official colors of the college or university conferring the degree; more than one color is shown by division of the field color in a variety of ways. The binding or edging of the hood is to be velvet or velveteen, two inches, three inches and five inches wide for the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, respectively; the color should be indicative of the subject to which the degree pertains.
Black mortarboards are generally recommended with a long tassel to be fastened to the middle point of the top of the cap only and to lie as it will thereon. The tassel should be black or the color appropriate to the subject, with the exception of the doctoral cap, which may have a tassel of gold.
Colors associated with the different disciplines are as follows:
- Arts, Letters, Humanities — White
- Commerce, Accountancy, Business — Drab
- Education — Light Blue
- Fine Arts — Brown
- Law — Purple
- Science — Golden Yellow
- Doctor of Education — Light Blue
- Doctor of Philosophy — Dark Blue
*Adapted in part from American Universities and Colleges, 15th Edition,American Council on Education, 1997.
The Endicott College Seal, which appears on the Commencement program and on each graduate's degree, is full of symbolism that reflects the College's ideals and our history. The escutcheon and lion signify protection from adverse forces. The circles symbolize unity and commonality; the sailing vessel, the worldliness of the College. The quill and book signify the transmittal of knowledge throughout the world, and the map suggests that Endicott welcomes its students from all corners of the globe.
The Stole of Gratitude
Worn during the Commencement ceremony, the stole carries the best wishes and sincere appreciation of the graduate. Following the ceremony, the graduate presents the stole to someone who provided extraordinary help or support. Recipients include parents, relatives, or mentors - anyone who may have helped with wisdom, encouragement, or financial assistance. More than one stole may be worn during Commencement, symbolizing that there are many people in the graduate's life deserving of such a gift. The stoles are available in the Bookstore for $19.95 each.
Honor Society Recognitions
In addition to their academic regalia, students who have achieved special honors or distinctions may wear stoles, cords, or medallions that signify their accomplishments. Members of Endicott Scholars—Endicott’s highly selective honors program—wear green stoles; and members of Mortar Board—a national honor society that recognizes exemplary students across disciplines for scholarship, leadership, and community service—receive gold and silver cords, along with a medallion on a white ribbon.
Members of national and international honors societies that are discipline-specific may receive cords of various colors. Examples of these cords include Eta Sigma Delta (hospitality)—yellow cord; Kappa Delta Pi (education)—green and purple cords and a KDP pin; Lambda Pi Eta (communication)—a gold braid and a small pin; Phi Epsilon Kappa (sport science)—black and gold cords; Phi Sigma (biological sciences)—green and gold cords; Sigma Theta Tau (nursing)—a purple braid; and performing arts minors—dance is white, music is pink, and theater is brown.
At Commencement 2002, the College introduced bagpipers to the Commencement procession. They were so well received that each year since we have had the Campbell Highlanders lead the procession.
Excellence in Teaching Award
The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented each year by members of the graduating class. Representatives from the academic schools select five candidates who have contributed to the success of the graduating class, and the recipient is chosen by a ballot vote. The recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award is the lead Marshal who carries the mace at Commencement and acts as Master of Ceremony. The recipient also is the speaker at the Baccalaureate Service.