KSU Commencement

Traditions

The Ceremony


Speakers

KSU Student Ambassadors

Since 1984, KSU Student Ambassadors have been an integral part of commencement. The Kennesaw State University Ambassador program provides an opportunity for outstanding students to serve as official hosts and goodwill ambassadors for the university. The goal of the program is to advance KSU's goals and mission through service to the Office of the President and other KSU departments. Student Ambassadors represent the university and the president with the highest level of integrity and professionalism and are easily identified by their distinctive black blazers.


Marshals

Faculty members are chosen to serve as marshals and to assist with the ceremony. The marshals are easily identified by their lead position in the faculty and student processional lines as well as by the KSU Baton that each marshal wields.


Kennesaw State University Batons

The four batons were designed and crafted by professor emeritus of biology Bowman Davis in honor of Daniel S. Papp's inauguration as the third KSU president. The hand-turned staffs are made out of walnut and feature a hand-carved stylized owl complete with an ebony finish to reflect the styling of the mace. The tips of the batons are finished in gold leaf and gold and black tassels complete the battons.


Kennesaw State University Mace

The honor of leading the dais party in the academic procession is given to the current Distinguished Teacher of the Year. The chief faculty marshal carries the mace which is a ceremonial staff and is symbolic of the rich traditions of higher education.

The practice of carrying a mace dates back to the Middle Ages, when the mace was designed to be used as a weapon. It was carried by a respected senior member of the community who was chosen to protect and guide the leaders as their group traveled through crowded streets.

The KSU mace was designed by Patrick Taylor, former chairman of the Department of Visual Arts, and hand-crafted on campus. The polished bronze handgrip is actually a stylized owl. The owl is Kennesaw State's mascot as well as the symbol of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. The globe near the top of the mace represents graduates going out into the world. Topping the globe is the traditional symbol of higher education - a lamp of learning, with a flame representing the quest for knowledge. A large bronze medallion displaying the university seal is part of the globe, and the festive ribbons streaming from the crown that cradles the globe represent the university colors.


The Dais Party

The dais party is the last group in the procession to enter the arena. The group consists of the president, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, the registrar, deans of the colleges, and invited honored guests, such as the commencement speaker and recipients of awards. When members of the dais party reach their seats, the processional ends. The chief faculty marshal declares the candidates for graduation to be assembled and the ceremony begins.


The Chain of Office

The president of the university wears a gold chain and medallion around his or her neck, denoting the status of president and the presiding authority over the ceremony. The medallion bears the official university seal. The Kennesaw State University seal is an adaptation of the state seal of Georgia with Kennesaw Mountain in the background. M. Thomson Salter III, professor emeritus of art, and a charter member of the faculty, designed the seal.


Gonfalons

The third presidential inauguration at KSU ushered in many new changes, including the academic gonfalons. Banners suspended on a crossbar, gonfalons are another piece of medieval history that has been incorporated into academic tradition. Designed by alumna Holly Miller, the gonfalons reflect a timeless style, incorporate the university's colors and represent the current eight KSU colleges.