A University Tradition
Commencements are a time-honored tradition in academia and honor the achievements, learning, and rigorous work of undergraduate and graduate students. USC held its first commencement ceremony in December 1807 in Rutledge College, the University's first building, which currently serves as the University's chapel on the historic Horseshoe. USC commencements include the presentation of the doctoral degrees by The Graduate School in the Koger Center for the Arts and in the Colonial Life Arena for all baccalaureate, master's, and professional degrees.
University of South Carolina President, Dr. Harris Pastides, will preside at each of the commencement exercises. The commencement exercises will include the University's traditional ceremony, a ceremony whose style stretches back to the earliest origin of the University of South Carolina, honoring each degree candidate individually. The President will join the dean of each college or school to greet each candidate individually as his/her name is called.
The ceremonies will begin with a series of academic processions including representatives of the University faculties, University officials and deans, members of the Board of Trustees and distinguished guests.
The custom academic regalia worn by our degree candidates bears the seal of the University of South Carolina and is sold exclusively by the University Bookstore in the Russell House located on Greene Street in Columbia. The University seal is embroidered in garnet and appears on the front of the academic gown. Caps, gowns, hoods and tassels may be purchased at the Graduation Fair which will be held in the Russell House Bookstore. Senior and regional campuses should consult their bookstores for regalia information.
You may also order personalized invitation cards from the Balfour Company at http://www.balfour.com/ You may also order your academic regalia through the following link: www.oakhalli.com/usc. Please call the University Bookstore with questions at 803.777.4160.
Official Tassel Colors
The academic regalia worn at the Commencement Exercises and at other formal University occasions trace their origins to those worn by faculty and students at medieval European universities. With only minor modifications, this regalia have remained largely unchanged since the 16th century. Standards for colleges and universities in the United States were established in 1895 with the adoption of an intercollegiate code, which specifies design and color appropriate for various degrees. A partial listing from the Intercollegiate Code for colors signifying disciplines follows:
Arts, Letters, Humanities - White
Accountancy, Business, Commerce - Drab
Education - Light Blue
Engineering - Orange
Fine Arts - Brown
Journalism - Crimson
Law - Purple
Library Science - Lemon
Medicine - Green
Music - Pink
Nursing - Apricot
Pharmacy - Olive Green
Philosophy - Dark Blue
Physical Education - Sage Green
Physical Therapy - Teal
Public Health - Salmon Pink
Public Service - Peacock Blue
Science - Golden Yellow
Social Science - Cream
Social Work - Citron
The tassel worn on the cap reflects the color of the major field of study. The tassel is worn on the right front quadrant of the cap, and may be moved to the left side after being greeted by the president and dean. Women may wear their mortarboard at all times; men should remove their mortarboards during the Invocation, National Anthem, and Alma Mater. Jewelry, flowers, or emblems worn on the academic regalia are inappropriate.
Honor Cords, Stoles, and Medallions
Since all grades have not yet been submitted, academic honors, which may be printed in the commencement program, are based on the cumulative grade point average from the degree candidate's previous semester/term. The honor printed, depending upon calculation of final grade point average, may change, or in some cases, the graduate may not actually graduate with academic honors. Honors to be printed on the diploma and academic record will be based on the final cumulative grade point average on all collegiate work.
Degree candidates are permitted to wear honor cords, stoles, and/or medallions representative of various honor or service societies authorized by the University of South Carolina. Degree candidates who are eligible to wear honor cords will be contacted by his/her school/college.
The University Seal
The University of South Carolina seal quotes the Latin poet Ovid, "Emollit Mores Nec Sinit Esse Feros", which is translated, "Learning humanizes character and does not permit it to be cruel." Beneath this motto on the University seal stand the figures of Liberty and Minerva, the goddess of Wisdom. Though clothed for battle, they hold their weapons at rest and shake hands. Liberty and wisdom share common ground. The University must be that special place where students can together pursue truth and strengthen both character and intellect.
Neither our noble mission nor our potential has changed since our early days. Reaffirming our ideals, fulfilling our promise, this generation of South Carolinians can maintain the University of South Carolina's national prestige which our state deserves and that our citizens expected at the beginning. We will provide generations of the 21st century a legacy worthy of our heritage - an institution that is not only one of America's oldest and most comprehensive universities, but also, one of its finest.
The Official USC Ring is one of the University of South Carolina's most prestigious traditions. The Official USC Ring is a time-honored expression of Carolina pride and is recognized by Carolina alumni worldwide. A committee comprised of students and alumni designed the Official USC Ring. The result is a ring that would forever symbolize the history and tradition of Carolina. Students with 60 or more credit hours are eligible to purchase the Official USC Ring. For more information, you may contact the University of South Carolina Alumni Association at telephone 803.777.4111, or visit their website at http://MyCarolina.org/officialring.