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Commencement Traditions

Tarleton State University is proud of our unique history and continually promotes its traditions. Many of these traditions have a special connection with commencement.

International Flags

International flags arranged on stage during commencement

Tarleton is committed to being a globally-oriented university that welcomes students from a wide range of ethnicities, religions, cultures and life experiences. In celebration of Tarleton's community of international students, we proudly present the flags of their home countries at each commencement ceremony. Currently, we have students from approximately 30 countries around the world.

University Mace

University mace on display at ceremony

The mace is a ceremonial staff traditionally displayed as a symbol of authority. Historically, the use of a mace dates back to the middle ages and was carried before or placed near a magistrate or other dignitary as an ensign of authority. The University Mace is borne by the President of the Faculty Senate at the head of all academic processions. Tarleton unveiled a new mace on the inauguration day of its 15th President, Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio. The new University Mace is turned out of walnut and has a headpiece with cast bronze Tarleton seals mounted on four sides. Crowning the headpiece is a three-dimensional, bronze-plated flame of knowledge, which sits above three polished bands of bronze that represent Tarleton's past, present and future.

College Banners

From medieval times royalty proclaimed the importance of the householder by displaying a banner with heraldic blazoning. Each knight, lord, and king possessed a coat of arms to represent him. The banner led him into battle as a symbol of strength and honor. The design was emblazoned on his shield as a form of protection in times of challenge. The banner was a proud promise, a dedication to honor and tradition, to be handed down from generation to generation as a sign of heritage.

Each of the five colleges of the university is represented by a banner that contains symbols capturing the academic disciplines of the college. In addition, a banner for the College of Graduate Studies represents all students who seek degrees beyond the undergraduate level.

College of Graduate Studies
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
College of Business Administration
College of Education
College of Liberal and Fine Arts
College of Science and Technology

From many parts a great university joins together to educate and mold a great future. Thus the banners, designed by Dr. Marika Kyriakos, Assistant Professor of Music; Dr. Carol Stavish, Assistant Professor of Theatre; Ms. Teresa Westmoreland, Costume Shop Supervisor; and Ms. Pat Westmoreland, volunteer; proclaim our dedication to the tradition of excellence.

Purple Pigs

Graduating Purple Poo members holding pigs with the president.

Graduating members of the TTS/TTP (Purple Poo) will hand the President a purple pig as they cross the stage.

Tassel

Tarleton seal on purple and white tassel

Tassels have long been part of graduation regalia. Tassels are worn on the caps of undergraduates on the right side until they receive the bachelor's degree. A time-honored tradition at commencement ceremonies involves the symbolic movement of the tassel from the right to the left. Students will be given this opportunity during the commencement ceremony.

Turning Rings

Female graduate turning ring over on finger.

Turning Rings is an important tradition at our commencement ceremonies. At the university's official ring ceremony, we ask that you wear your ring with the "T" facing in until you graduate. For those graduates who wear a Tarleton Class Ring, they will be given the opportunity to turn their ring so the "T" faces out during the commencement ceremony so the world will then know the student is a Tarleton grad.

Color Song

Graduates singing the color song

"Oh! Our hearts with joy are thrilling
when the Tarleton Colors wave,
And our Spirits rise with rapture
when the Tarleton sons are brave;
Fight for Victory, Fight for Honor,
And success will crown the fight;
All hail the proud defenders of the
Purple and the White!"

On Ye Tarleton (Fight Song)