Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Traditions help UTSA graduates stand out at Commencement

Traditions help UTSA graduates stand out at Commencement

It's easy to spot UTSA graduates earning degrees in construction science and management. They traditionally wear special orange hard hats during Commencement ceremonies.


NOVEMBER 28, 2022 — Thousands of graduating Roadrunners celebrate earning their degrees each May and December by participating in a number of special traditions tied to the momentous occasion.

UTSA's Commencement ceremonies will return to the Alamodome on Tuesday, December 13. Graduates of the College for Health, Community and Policy, the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the College of Sciences will cross the stage during the 10 a.m. ceremony. Graduates of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, the College of Education and Human Development, the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and University College will receive their degrees at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

Scheduled at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9, graduating students will participate in the inaugural Roadrunner Walk, a memorable walk on campus to celebrate this important milestone and their achievements. UTSA graduates will walk along the Paseo on the Main Campus while their community, friends and family members celebrate their accomplishments. Similar to the Commencement Drive, the nostalgic walk will give graduates an opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and transformation while at UTSA. 

There are many traditions involving the accessories students wear at Commencement. The stoles and cords draped over students’ shoulders have special meanings. Stoles, the colored sashes that students wear draped around their necks, represent involvement in various activities at UTSA. For example, student-athletes and Honors College students receive special stoles to wear. Many first-generation graduates will wear first-gen stoles they have purchased or made. Students can also purchase a Stole of Gratitude, which they can present after the virtual celebration as a show of gratitude to someone whose support helped the student reach this milestone.

Commencement cords—ropes draped over the gowns—also have special meanings. Gold honors cords are given to cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude graduates. Students who have served on active duty in the military are eligible to wear red, white, and blue Veterans Honors cords.

There are also traditions related to the caps students wear for graduation. Undergraduates wear the tassel on the right side of the mortarboard until they’re instructed to move their tassel to the left side. Master’s and doctoral students always keep their tassels to the left.

Over the years, guests have taken note of the many brightly decorated mortarboards that students wear. UTSA students have embraced the tradition of sprucing up their mortarboards with individualized art and special messages to help them stand out in the crowd on Commencement day.

Another group of students with attention-grabbing headwear are those getting degrees in construction science and management; they wear special orange hard hats. Be on the lookout for graduates wearing Rowdy’s orange feet. Students who served as mascots during their time at UTSA get to wear the feet during graduation celebrations.

⇒ Learn more about UTSA Commencement.

Another unique tradition involves the UTSA class rings that many graduates wear, which spend a night at the Alamo to connect them to the history of San Antonio.

Since UTSA’s first graduation celebration in May 1976, mariachis have performed to help give a celebratory feel.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.



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