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Commencement Ceremonies

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Cap Decoration Guidelines

Kansas State University supports the decoration of caps for the commencement ceremony. While the University recognizes that this is an important activity, students choosing to wear a decorated cap during the ceremony must follow guidelines below. 

The guidelines will be enforced at the commencement ceremony, and the University reserves the right to request that graduates change inappropriate attire before they are allowed to participate in the ceremony. The University wants this experience for our graduates to be a positive and celebratory event of self-expression yet respectful of all. 

Only the flat top area of the mortarboard may be decorated. Adornments must lay flat on the surface of the cap. Decorations cannot extend beyond the border of the cap or fall below the perimeter. Cap decorations that are motivated by animosity against a person or group because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin, or which infringe on the rights and freedoms of others will not be tolerated.  

Decorations may not include the following: 

  • Profanity 
  • Symbols for or references to alcohol or controlled substances 
  • Political statements, symbols, or political party references 
  • Bows, ribbon, or tulle that do not lay flat on the cap 
  • Three dimensional objects 
  • Flowers or flower crowns 
  • Light objects 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list and any adornment or message deemed inappropriate or determined to pose a safety risk or distraction will not be permitted. The graduate will be asked to purchase a new, undecorated cap if these guidelines are not followed. For questions concerning these guidelines, please email commencement@ksu.edu.