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The colors of convocation

Graduation is about more than just accomplishments: It’s the gathering of loved ones, the cap and gown, it’s “Pomp and Circumstance” blasting through the speakers and it’s even the tassels and regalia proudly worn by those that walk across the stage.

The different tassel colors and regalia that graduates sport at graduation ceremonies all convey a different meaning and achievement.
The different tassel colors and regalia that graduates sport at graduation ceremonies all convey a different meaning and achievement. Photo credit: Pixabay

Weber State University will usher in a new wave of college graduates on Dec. 17. There will be a total of 10 ceremonies throughout the day, eight of which will be split evenly between both the Dee Events Center and Browning Center.

However, not every graduate will be decked in the same regalia. Cap tassel colors, robe colors and a wide assortment of regalia all mean something different.

Black robes signify a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree graduate. Purple robes are for associate degree graduates.

The tassel colors signify the college or field of study.

In the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology, Master of Computer Engineering, Master of Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Computer Engineering, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Associate of Pre-Engineering all don orange tassels. All other Applied Science and Technology graduates wear black tassels.

All graduates within the Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities wear white tassels on their caps, with the exception of Master of Professional Communication graduates, who sport crimson tassels.

All graduates from the Goddard School of Business & Economics wear brown tassels. Similarly, all graduates from the Moyes College of Education wear light blue tassels and all graduates from the College of Science wear golden yellow tassels.

Graduates from the Dumke College of Health Professions sport a wider variety of tassel colors. Those who have earned a Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy, Master of Science in Athletic Training and Bachelor’s of Athletic Therapy wear sage green tassels. Master of Health Administration, Bachelor of Health Administrative Services, Bachelor of Public Health and graduates in dental hygiene wear salmon-colored tassels. Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences and all other graduates of health professions wear apricot-colored tassels.

Most graduates from the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences wear cream tassels, with the exception of Master of Criminal Justice graduates, who wear citron tassels.

Bachelor of Integrated Studies graduates also wear cream tassels. Those graduating with associate degrees in general studies wear purple and white tassels.

The medals, stoles and ropes graduates wear also convey different meanings and accomplishments.

Students can earn GPA honors through their grades. An associate graduate earns honors with a 3.6 GPA and high honors with a 3.85 GPA. In a bachelor’s degree, 3.6 earns cum laude, 3.8 earns magna cum laude and 3.9 earns summa cum laude. All GPA honors graduates are marked with purple and white cords.

Students that complete General Honors will have silver ropes to wear, students that complete University Honors will have a purple stole, and students that complete departmental honors will have a medallion on white satin.
Students who complete general honors will wear silver ropes, students who complete university honors will have a purple stole and students who complete departmental honors will wear a medallion on white satin. Photo credit: Zoe Plowman

Students graduating with general honors will wear silver cords. General honors is earned after completing 12 credits of honors courses while maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above before earning an associate degree.

An embroidered purple satin stole is worn by those with university honors, which is achieved after completing 21 credits of honors before graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Graduates with university honors have also completed a capstone and finished their courses with a 3.5 GPA or above.

Medallions on a white satin ribbon signify that a graduate completed departmental honors in their respective area of study. Departmental honors requirements vary depending on the department, but often include things such as campus involvement, community service, field-specific certification and capstone projects.

Students wearing blue and gold cords are affiliated with the WSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society. To be eligible, students must be invited as the top 7.5% of juniors or top 10% of seniors or graduate students at the university.

Those donning navy blue and silver cords affiliate with Alpha Alpha Alpha, or Tri-Alpha for short. Tri-Alpha is an honor society for first-generation students and is run through the Honors Program, the Student Success Center and the First-Gen Club.

Aletheia presidential scholars also don a separate medal.

Green cords mean that a graduate has donated to the Cat2Cat scholarship fund. Cat2Cat is a student-funded scholarship that was started by a group of WSU students in 2016 and is now run by the Student Alumni Association. Student donations are then returned to the next generation of students through scholarship and low tuition. Graduating seniors are encouraged to donate the amount of their graduating year, so Fall 2021 graduates would donate $20.21.

The silver Traditions Keeper stole will don the shoulders of graduates who have completed all 50 WSU traditions in the Traditions Keeper program run by the Alumni Association.

Veterans can receive a veteran stole through Veteran Services.

Latinx and Hispanic students who sign up online to participate in the LatinX Grad Ceremony receive a colorful stole that resembles a serape, which is a traditional Mexican shawl. The ceremony is held every spring semester.

Regardless of the accessories that complete their cap and gown, WSU’s newest crop of graduates should feel proud of their accomplishments.

“I’m really excited for graduates who have worked really hard,” Megan Moulding, honors program coordinator, said. “This has been a very difficult couple of years. It’s exciting to see them get to the finish line and have family and friends gather around them to celebrate all of their hard work.”

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