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Commencement Ceremonies

About our ceremonies

The university mace

The Kansas State University mace made its debut in September 2009 at the inauguration of Kirk H. Schulz as the university’s 13th president. A mace is a decorative symbol of office and typically carried at the front of academic processions. The university’s mace is carried in the processional at the Graduate School ceremony and is displayed at each college’s ceremony. Designed by Tom Boley, a 1970 university graduate, the mace is made from a purple wood called purpleheart and a light-colored maple.

Academic dress

The history of academic dress dates to medieval European universities of the 12th century. Universities in the United States have standardized academic dress so its features are common and uniform throughout the country.

The gown

At Kansas State University, gowns are black and typically made of synthetic material or worsted wool. The pattern varies with the degree held — open sleeves for the bachelor’s degree; long, closed sleeves with slits for the hands for the master’s degree; and round, bell sleeves for the doctoral degree.

The hood

Students receiving graduate degrees wear hoods. The master’s hood is shorter than the doctoral hood and lacks the panels of the doctoral hood. Hoods are lined with the colors of the university; the university’s lining is purple with two inverted chevrons. e binding or edging of the hood is the color pertaining to the subject of the degree.

The caps

All bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates wear a black mortarboard. Doctoral students may wear a mortarboard or a soft velvet tam with either six or eight sides. The tams can be dark blue or black for Doctor of Philosophy candidates, and light blue for Doctor of Education candidates. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine candidates wear a black mortarboard. Tassel color for all degree candidates depends on the degree and/or degree field.

Trimming colors on hoods

Brown

Master of Fine Arts
Master of Landscape Architecture

Dark blue

Doctor of Philosophy

Golden yellow

Master of Science
Professional Master of Science
Professional Master of Technology

Gray

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Lavender

Master of Architecture

Light blue

Doctor of Education

Maize

Master of Agribusiness

Navy blue

Master of Interior Architecture & Product Design

Orange

Master of Software Engineering
Master of Engineering Management

Peacock blue

Master of Public Administration
Master of Regional & Community Planning

Pink

Master of Music

Salmon

Master of Public Health

Tan/drab brown

Master of Accountancy
Master of Business Administration

White

Master of Arts

Tassel colors on candidates’ caps

Brown

Bachelor of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts
Master of Landscape Architecture

Dark blue

Doctor of Philosophy

Golden yellow

Associate degrees
Bachelor of Science
Master of Science
Professional Master of Science
Professional Master of Technology

Gray

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Lavender

Master of Architecture

Light blue

Bachelor’s degrees in Education
Doctor of Education

Maize

Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture
Master of Agribusiness

Maroon

Bachelor’s degrees in Human Ecology

Navy blue

Master of Interior Architecture & Product Design

Orange

Bachelor’s degrees in Engineering
Master of Software Engineering
Master of Engineering Management

Peacock blue

Master of Regional & Community Planning
Master of Public Administration

Pink

Bachelor of Applied Education
Bachelor of Music Education
Master of Music

Salmon

Master of Public Health

Tan/drab brown

Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration
Master of Business Administration
Master of Accountancy

White

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Music
Master of Arts