Commencement History and Traditions

ϲʲͼ Commencement History and Traditions

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Foundation

The University mission evolved from the educational traditions of its sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus. These Catholic traditions emphasize concern for the dignity of the person and for the common good of the world community. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded the University of ϲʲͼ in 1877. The Sisters of Mercy, Province of ϲʲͼ, founded Mercy College of ϲʲͼ in 1941. Together, these religious congregations created a partnership in higher education to establish ϲʲͼ in 1990. Each religious congregation brings its spirit to the mission of the University. This spirit includes commitment to quality education, the service of faith, and promotion of justice and compassionate service to persons in need. 

Vision

ϲʲͼ will be recognized as a premier private university in the Great Lakes region, distinguished by graduates who lead and serve in their communities. 

ϲʲͼ Mercy Crest

ϲʲͼ Mercy Crestϲʲͼ Mercy's crest includes design elements representing both the Jesuit and Mercy traditions. The left side of the crest portrays two wolves at a pot, symbolizing the generosity of the Loyola family (Ignatius Loyola was the founder of the Society of Jesus). After all the family and the workers were fed, even the wild animals had the pot to lick. The motto of the Jesuits, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" (For the Greater Glory of God), is located above the wolves and the pot. The date 1877 refers to the founding of the University of ϲʲͼ by the Jesuits.

On the right side of the crest is a silver cross, which is the symbol of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, who founded Mercy College of ϲʲͼ in 1941. The three canettes are taken from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of ϲʲͼ, symbolizing the Archdiocese and the city. The open book is the traditional symbol for a college. Upon the open pages is inscribed Mercy College's motto: "Maria, Sedes Sapientiae" (Mary, Seat of Wisdom).

"ϲʲͼ" is placed in a circle and surrounding the visual elements. 

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  • Academic Procession & Mace

    ϲʲͼ Mercy MaceThe order of the Academic Procession is governed by academic protocol. College and School order of march is determined by their founding. Leading the Procession is the grand marshal. The grand marshal is the master/mistress of ceremonies and mace-bearer.

    The mace is ceremonial and dates back to the 16th-Century England, where it was used as a formidable weapon to protect high-ranking civil, education and religious officials and royalty. Today the mace has become a symbol of authority and is carried by a distinguished member of the academic community.

    Attached to the top of the mace is a bronze University crest. Circumscribed around the consolidated institutions' crests is the wording, "ϲʲͼ". 

    The left side of the crest portrays two wolves at a pot, symbolizing the generosity of the Loyola family (Ignatius Loyola was the founder of the Society of Jesus). After all the family and the workers were fed, even the wild animals had the pot to lick. The motto of the Jesuits, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" (For the Greater Glory of God), is located above the wolves and the pot. The date 1877 refers to the founding of the University of ϲʲͼ by the Jesuits.

    On the right side of the crest is a silver cross, which is the symbol of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, who founded Mercy College of ϲʲͼ in 1941. The three canettes are taken from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of ϲʲͼ, symbolizing the Archdiocese and the city. The open book is the traditional symbol for a college. Upon the open pages is inscribed Mercy College's motto: "Maria, Sedes Sapientiae" (Mary, Seat of Wisdom).

    The shaft of the mace is made of mahogany with brass accents.

  • Gowns, Hoods, and Caps

    Graduate Student GownDDS graduate gown

    Gowns

    Academic gowns descend from the closed cloak of the clergy who taught at early medieval universities. In 1895, the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume specified three types of gowns. Each gown was decorated with fluted fabric in the front and pleated fabric near the shoulders. Most gowns used today are based on the gown designs of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. 

    Each graduate wears a gown appropriate to the degree granted. The bachelor's gown is closed at the throat and has long, pointed sleeves. The master's gown has oblong sleeves and is open at the wrist. The doctor's gown has velvet bars and bell-shaped sleeves. The color velvet on the gown indicates the type of doctoral degree earned. 

    Hoods

    Undergraduate gowns

    Each degree, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor's, is represented by a distinct shape or form. The Bachelor's hood is the smallest of the three. ϲʲͼ Mercy's Bachelor hood is white, flat all the way around with the point down the back, and the University's seal on the front chest. The Master's hood is three and a half feet long with velvet edging representing the degree earned and the University's colors on the inside of the hood. The Doctor's hood is four feet long with wider velvet edging representing the degree earned and the University's colors on the inside of the hood. 

    The ϲʲͼ's colors are red, white, and blue. The color of the velvet trimmings indicate the academic area in which the degree was received. Those colors are listed below.

    Caps

    Academic caps have varied widely throughout history. The most popular style in the United States is the black square mortarboard. Caps have colored tassels fastened to the top center point of the mortarboard. The color of the tassel represents the color of the degree earned, listed below. Although not an official rule, many institutions have adopted the practice of shifting the tassel from the right side to the left as the degrees are awarded. 

  • Regalia Colors for Degree Majors

    Regalia Colors

    Bachelor Degree Majors

    Tassel Color

    Accounting Drab
    Addiction Studies Golden Yellow
    Architectural Engineering Orange
    Architecture Blue-Violet
    Biochemistry Golden Yellow
    Biology Golden Yellow
    Business Administration Drab
    Chemistry White (BA), Golden Yellow (BS)
    Civil Engineering Orange
    Communication Studies White
    Computer Science Golden Yellow
    Criminal Justice Golden Yellow
    Cybersecurity Golden Yellow
    Developmental Psychology White
    Economics White
    Electrical Engineering Orange
    Engineering Orange
    English White
    Financial Economics White
    Health Services Administration Golden Yellow
    History White
    Industrial/Organizational Psychology White
    Liberal Studies White
    Mathematics Golden Yellow
    Mechanical Engineering Orange
    Nursing Apricot
    Nursing Degree Completion Apricot
    Philosophy White
    Political Science White
    Psychology White
    Religious Studies White
    Robotics and Mechatronic Systems Engineering Orange
    Social Work Citron
    Theatre White

    Graduate Degree Majors

    Tassel/Hood Color

    Addiction Counseling White
    Adult-Gerontology CNS Apricot
    Advanced General Nursing Apricot
    Applied Data Analytics Golden Yellow
    Architecture Blue-Violet
    Business Administration Drab
    Civil Engineering Orange
    Clinical Mental Health Counseling White
    Clinical Nurse Leader Apricot
    Community Development White
    Criminal Justice White
    Cybercrime Golden Yellow
    Cybersecurity Golden Yellow
    Economics Copper
    Electrical Engineering Orange
    Environmental Engineering Orange
    Ethical Leadership Golden Yellow
    Family Nurse Practitioner Apricot
    Financial Economics Copper
    Health Services Administration Golden Yellow
    Industrial/Organizational Psychology White
    Information Assurance Golden Yellow
    Intelligence Analysis Golden Yellow
    Liberal Studies White
    Mechanical Engineering Orange
    Nursing & Healthcare Leadership Apricot
    Physician Assistant Golden Yellow
    Product Development Golden Yellow
    Religious Studies White
    School Counseling White
    School Psychology White
    Software Engineering Golden Yellow
    Software Management Golden Yellow
    Technical Management Golden Yellow
    Vehicle Cyber Engineering Golden Yellow

    Specialist Degree Major

    Tassel/Hood Color

    School Psychology White

    Doctoral Degree Majors

    Tassel/Hood Color

    Civil & Environmental Engineering Blue
    Clinical Psychology Blue
    Electrical & Computer Engineering Blue
    Mechanical Engineering Blue
    Nurse Anesthesia Apricot
    Nursing Practice Apricot
  • Additional Approved Regalia

    Academic Honors Recognized by Each College/School and other approved items that may be worn with Cap & Gown at Commencement
     
    School of Architecture & Community Development
    Alpha Rho Chi Red & Blue cord or medallion on blue ribbon
     
    College of Business Administration
    Alpha Iota Delta Green & Gold cord
    Beta Alpha Psi Red & Black cord
    Beta Gamma Sigma Blue & Gold cord
    Global Jesuit Business Student Association Red & Blue cord
     
    School of Dentistry
    Sigma Phi Alpha (Dental Hygiene) White Stole with Purple braided edge
    Omicron Kappa Upsilon (DDS) Tri-colored ribbon with Gold emblem
     
    College of Engineering and Science
    Alpha Epsilon Delta Red/purple cord
    Chi Epsilon Purple/white cord with medallion
    Eta Kappa Nu Gold cord with color tassels
    Pi Mu Epsilon Lilac, Gold & Black cord
    Pi Tau Sigma Blue & Red cord
    Tau Beta Pi Orange & white cords
    Chemistry Club/department Blue and Gold chord/medal
    Engineering students passing FE Exam Red and white cord with FE medal
     
    School of Law  
    Black Law Student’s Association Black, Green, Red, & Yellow stole
     
    College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing 
    Sigma Theta Tau Lavender & White cord
    Pi Alpha Dark Blue/Green cord
    Upsilon Phi Delta Blue & Red cord
     
    College of Liberal Arts and Education
    Kappa Delta Pi Purple & Green cord
    Pi Sigma Alpha Pins and Red, White & Blue cord
    Phi Alpha Delta Purple & Gold cord
    Phi Alpha Honor Society Gold cord
    Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society Silver & Red cord
    Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society  Navy & Light Blue cord
     
    University-Wide Academic Honors
    Alpha Sigma Nu Pins and medallions for officers
    University Honors Program Gold stole
    Delta Epsilon Iota Blue & Gold cord
    Kappa Gamma Pi Brown & Off-White cord
    Emerging Leaders Pin or Medallion
    National Society of Leadership and Success Black & Platinum cord
     
    Other University Approved Cords and Stoles  
    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sority, Inc. Pink & Green stole
    Athletes on Roster at time of Graduation Red, White & Blue cord
    Atlantic Sun Academic Honors Graphite & Gold cord
    Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. Green stole with Yellow lettering
    Children’s Oral Health Club Lilac & White cord
    Commuter Student Association White stole with Black logo
    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Crimson & Cream stole
    Earthly Smiles Silver & Navy cord
    Entrepreneurship Association   Royal blue & Green cord
    FirstGen Network                                                                                   Navy stole, Gold piping with seal
    Gamma Phi Beta Pink & White stole
    H.O.P.E. for a Cure UDM Maroon, Royal & White cord
    Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated Maroon & White stole
    Kappa Beta Gamma White stole with Gold lettering
    Lambda Theta Phi (Knights of No Mercy) White stole with Brown lettering
    Latinx Student Union                   Red & colorful stripe design stole w/logo
    Multicultural Graduate Black stole with multi-colored logo design
    Muslim Student Association Dark Green stole with White lettering
    Nursing Student Association Purple, Teal and White cord w/logo
    Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Maroon Stole with Gold lettering
    Sigma Gamma Rho Society, Inc.  Xi Upsilon Chapter Royal Blue stole with Gold lettering
    Sigma Pi Fraternity White & Purple stole
    Sigma, Sigma, Sigma   Purple & White stole
    Society of Women Engineers Purple stole with SWE White lettering
    Student Social Work Association Gold cord
    Student Alumni Leadership Council   Red & White cord with org pin
    Student Arts Club Orange & White cords
    Student Government Association  Red, White & Blue cord (ASGA knotted)
    Student Government Association Officers Red, White & Blue stole with officer position
    Trio Student Support Services Red, White & Black cord
    Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Royal stole & White lettering
    Veteran Student Organization/Veteran graduates                                  Branch of the service stole (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)