Faculty members are chosen to serve as marshals to assist with the ceremony. They lead the faculty and student processional lines while carrying a KSU Baton.

KSU marshal faculty members
KSU tradition baton

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 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 with a gold and black tassels.

Kennesaw State University Mace

The honor of leading the academic procession as Chief Faculty Marshal is given to the chair of the Faculty Senate. The marshal carries the mace to symbolize of rich traditions of higher education.

The practice of carrying a mace dates back to the Middle Ages. Originally designed 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 a stylized owl, both KSU's mascot and 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 lamp of learning, a traditional symbol of higher education, 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.

KSU traditional mace
KSU dais party faculty members

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. When members of the dais party reach their seats, the processional ends.

The Chain of Office

The President of the University wears a gold chain and medallion around his or her neck, denoting the status of the president and the presiding authority over the ceremony. The medallion bears the official University seal, which is an adaptation of the state seal of Georgia with Kennesaw Mountain in the background. The seal was designed by M. Thomson Salter III, Professor Emeritus of Art, and a charter member of the faculty.

KSU seal stamp

overview of KSU students graduating


Gonfalons, or banners suspended on a crossbar, are another piece of medieval history that has been incorporated into academic tradition. They reflect a timeless style, incorporate the university’s colors, and represent all 11 colleges at KSU.

History of Regalia

The caps and gowns worn at Commencement connect contemporary graduates with scholarly tradition that dates back for as long as universities have existed. Clerics, ecclesiastics, and scholars wore hoods or caps and heavy gowns at European universities during the Middle Ages. Beginning in the middle of the fourteenth century, scholars wore an academic costume of "bunge and sand-colored habits."

In 1895, the Intercollegiate Bureau of Academic Costume was created in the US, and a standard code of academic dress for commencements was adopted. The academic dress consists of the existing cap and gown — the traditional bachelor's gown with long, open-pointed sleeves. To differentiate between undergraduate and graduate levels, the master’s gown has its long sleeves hanging down from the elbows.

KSU doctoral graduate students