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Ripon College celebrates the past and the present with a series of traditional ceremonies and special events throughout the year.

The ceremonials committee is responsible for planning, coordinating and supporting many of the campus-wide, academic celebrations and other most treasured occasions. These include, but are not limited to: the fall Matriculation Convocation, the weeklong Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Founders’ Day, Awards Convocation and the many events associated with the spring Commencement.

Traditional Symbols & Dress

The Ceremonial Mace
The ceremonial mace, carried by the faculty marshal at the head of the academic procession, was given to Ripon College November 16, 1946, by Sir Francis Evans of England and the Reverend Canon Edward West of New York. The mace, designed by West, was presented at the opening ceremony for Ripon College’s Centennial observances.

The Presidential Medallion
The presidential medallion and chain of office worn by President Zach P. Messitte during formal convocations like today’s was presented to President David C. Joyce during Commencement May 14, 2006, by Honorary Life Trustee Thomas E. Caestecker. The medallion is an update of the original created for the 1996 inaugural celebration for 11th president Paul B. Ranslow. The medallion features the Ripon College seal cast in bronze and the chain of office includes the names of all 13 Ripon College presidents.

Academic Dress
Academic dress stems from the Middle Ages, when scholars were also clerics and wore the costume of the monastic orders. The hood was originally a cowl attached to the gown and could be slipped over the head for warmth. The cap, originally round, later became a square mortarboard. Today the cap, whether round or square, is the same for all degrees except for the tassel, which may be silver for the master’s and gold for the doctoral degrees. The gowns differ according to the degrees. In recent years, some American universities have followed the European custom of having doctoral gowns in the color of the university.

The hood also varies according to the degree. A doctoral hood is the longest and has the fullest shape. The velvet border indicates the area of study: dark blue is philosophy; brown, fine arts or architecture; green, medicine; orange, engineering; pink, music; purple, law; scarlet, divinity or theology; white, arts or letters; golden yellow, science or science in engineering; lemon yellow, library science; and peacock blue, public administration or foreign service.

The hood is lined in silk with the colors of the institution which granted the degree.