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 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

Bachelor’s candidates wear a purple mortarboard, 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.