Fall Convocation Ceremony Information

A Formal Academic Ceremony

The Fall Convocation you are attending today and the Commencement ceremony that you will attend upon graduation are intended to be bookends to your college experience. Both are formal academic ceremonies that feature members of the University’s faculty and administration in academic regalia.
The regalia that each faculty member and administrator wears communicates specific information about their level of education, their academic discipline, and the institution that awarded their degree. The majority of the faculty and administrators seated on stage have earned doctoral degrees. Those who have earned their doctorate wear robes bearing three bars of velvet on each sleeve and velvet panels on the front of the robe.

In addition to the robe, the hood also communicates information about the accomplishments of the person who wears it. The color of the velvet edging of the hood (visible around the neck in the front and down the back) signifies the discipline studied. Similarly, the tassel that you will wear when you graduate from MSU will be the color of the discipline of your major. Some of the colors and corresponding disciplines that you may see include:

Agriculture — Maize
Arts and Letters — White
Business — Drab (Tan)
Communication — Royal Blue
Education — Light Blue
Engineering — Orange
Law — Purple

Many institutions that award advanced degrees such as the Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or Medical Degree use hoods that have dark blue velvet edging signifying the discipline of Philosophy or Medicine. Other institutions award hoods for the Ph.D. and the M.D. that use the color of the actual discipline studied.  President Stanley earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and his hood bears the color crimson.

MSU we love thy shadows when twilight silence falls.
Flushing deep and softly paling O’er ivy covered halls.
Beneath the pines we’ll gather to give our faith so true.
Sing our love of Alma Mater and thy praises MSU.
When from these scenes we wander and twilight shadows fade, 
Our memory still will linger where light and shadows played.
In the evening oft we’ll gather and pledge our faith a new,
Sing our love for Alma Mater and our praises MSU.

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.”