September 18, 2014

Convocation is a call for people who share the same goals to convene in an assembly. Along with their professors and other members of the William Paterson University community, incoming students are invited to celebrate their entry into academic life.

Convocation is an annual event that brings together the incoming class, the faculty, the President, the Provost, and members of the administration and Board of Trustees to recognize the beginning of a new academic year. It is celebrated at most colleges and universities as a means of both welcoming new students to the campus and to higher education, and to challenge students to make the most of the university experience.

At William Paterson University, we are committed to your success by providing a superior teaching and learning environment, by encouraging you to achieve new levels of thinking and understand, and by supporting your academic endeavors and your creativity. We challenge you to become fully immersed into the academic life on campus, to make your education the first and primary focus of your pursuits, and to take full advantage of the numerous student development activities and other services that we offer.


Ceremony Tradition

The mace is carried by one of the senior faculty members of the University and is used at all academic ceremonies.  In medieval times, maces were weapons of warfare, but today a mace is “a staff borne by, or carried before, a magistrate or other dignitary as an ensign of his authority.”  It is the emblem and symbol of the president’s authority to administer to the University.

This mace was first used in the one hundred fifty-third commencement ceremony in 1987 and was designed and crafted by Ming Fay, associate professor of art.  The top piece, cast of brushed aluminum, features a center ball symbolizing universal knowledge, surrounded by four carved fins radiating outward, representing the University’s community outreach.  The bottom portion, made of teak and inlaid with imitation ivory, was carved with the assistance of Joseph Van Putten, an award-winning graduate of the University’s Art department and current assistant professor of art.

Processional banners identify the University’s five colleges- College of the Arts and Communication, Cotsakos College of Business, College of Education, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Science and Health-and are carried by a faculty member from the appropriate college.

Academic gowns, hoods, and regalia represent more than elegance or colorful attire.  Academic caps and gowns represent a tradition that reaches far back into the early days of the oldest universities of the Middle Ages.  The early European universities were church founded; the students, being clerics, were obliged to wear prescribed gowns and caps at all times.  Caps and gowns were once common forms of clothing and were retained by the clergy when the laity adopted more modern dress.

Although some universities here and abroad have other colors, the usual color for gowns in America is black.  Bachelor’s degree gowns have pointed sleeves, master’s degree gowns have oblong sleeves open at the wrist, and doctoral degree gowns have sleeves that are bell shaped.  Also, on doctoral degree gowns the front is faced with black velvet of the color distinctive of the faculty or subject to which the degree pertains.

Hoods are lined with the official color of the college or university that conferred the degree.  The velvet edging color represents the appropriate degree as follows:  bachelor of arts – white; bachelor of fine arts – light brown; bachelor of music – pink; bachelor of science- golden yellow; master of arts – white; master of education – light blue; master of science – golden yellow.  Mortar boards (caps) are usually black.  The gown and hood of the marshal and the president were made especially for University ceremonies in the official colors of orange and black.