For the past 168 years, University of the Pacific has produced stellar graduates who go on to tremendous success on a personal and professional level. Commencement ceremonies are our student's last step at Pacific, and their first into the world beyond our gates. Pacific's Commencement ceremonies are rich with history, tradition, and significance, and this section of our site can help you understand some of the colors, symbols, and artifacts associated with Commencement at Pacific.
Traditionally, the processional begins with the candidates for graduation and ends with the highest ranking officer at the institution, followed by an institutional symbol, such as the mace. At Pacific, the college and schools are able to establish their own processional tradition. The Commencement Ceremony follows traditional academic processional guidelines.
- School Banner
- Dean of (School or College) in order of founding
- Faculty Marshals
- Candidates for Degrees
- Faculty beginning with instructors, lecturers, assistants, and associates
- Professors by rank (in order of seniority, newest last)
- Emeriti Faculty
- Officers of the University
- Honorary Degree Recipients
- Members of the Presidential Party
- Board of Regents
- Provost of the University
- President of the University
- Mace Bearer
Origins of the Academic Mace
Originally a weapon of offense used in medieval warfare by a king or a noble, the mace has been refined to a symbolic device used on ceremonial occasions. The mace, as an academic symbol, dates back to 16th century England when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to the corporation of the University of Oxford. She ordered that it be used in all ceremonies to represent the royal presence and the authority given to the university to grant degrees under the royal insignia. King Charles I made a similar gift to Cambridge University in 1625.
The University of the Pacific Mace
Robert E. Burns, Pacific president from 1946-1971, asked Stuart Devlin, an internationally known London silver designer, to create the University of the Pacific Mace. It was commissioned in recognition of the University's transition from a college to a university with several colleges and professional schools that were to be modeled after Oxford and Cambridge. It was first used at a Founders Day ceremony on March 6, 1966, and is constructed entirely of silver with a gold plated seal of the University in its head. The mace is approximately four feet long and weighs 15 pounds. It was a gift from Mrs. Winifred Olson Raney, a regent of the University. The mace is displayed at all official University functions and generally is carried by the chair of the Academic Council at Convocation and Commencement ceremonies.
School and college banners signifying each of the academic units of the University precede a unit's faculty in academic processions and are displayed during various academic ceremonies. Each banner utilizes white print to symbolize the arts and letters, which form a basis for all academic programs of the University. The primary color of the banner symbolizes the school’s academic disciplines and the year in which each school was founded is displayed beneath each school’s name. Each banner includes the University seal, and are presented in order of each school’s founding:
College Of The Pacific
The gold field of this banner signifies the wealth which scientific research has produced and combines with the color of the lettering as symbolism derived from the white fur trimming of the original Oxford and Cambridge B.A. hoods. This representation of the arts and letters and the sciences form the basis for the liberal arts programs offered in this central division of the University, founded in 1851.
The lemon-yellow background is representative of the Library Science discipline. The Library's faculty and staff have served all academic areas of the University since its founding in 1851. Collections and services include a variety of print, audiovisual and electronic resources. Original papers and sketches of materials relating to the Gold Rush along with many other special collections are a primary attraction for researchers from around the world.
Conservatory Of Music
The pink field is the accepted color for all disciplines relating to music. The Conservatory is the oldest university affiliated conservatory in the West. It was founded in 1878.
Dugoni School Of Dentistry
The lilac colors of Dentistry form the field for this banner. Founded in 1896, The school programs have three cornerstones: education, research and service. In 2004, the School was named in honor of a beloved Dean, Arthur A. Dugoni, who was an active volunteer, philanthropist and champion for the school.
McGeorge School Of Law
Purple is the traditional color of law and in Elizabethan times it represented nobility and luxury and remains symbolic of power and ambition. Studies show that people also associate purple with wisdom, dignity, independence, and creativity. Founded in 1924, McGeorge became a part of University of the Pacific in 1966.
Light blue is a traditional color representing education and the royal blue field of this banner is representative of the education division which remains a core part of the college while the deeper blue indicates there is much more going on in the college. The school was founded in 1924 as a school of Education when the University moved to Stockton and was renamed in honor of generous benefactor Gladys L. Benerd in 1993. The school offers additional programs previously administered within the University College which was founded in 1979. The royal blue banner evokes a bright new future for all of the students and the 2019 school merger.
Thomas J. Long School Of Pharmacy
The green field depicts the pharmacy profession. Pharmacy was established as a school at Pacific in 1955. The generosity of the Long family and affiliated foundations led to the naming of the school in 2001.
School Of Engineering & Computer Science
The orange field reflects the traditional degree color for the study of Engineering as assigned by the American Council on Education. The School of Engineering and Computer Science was founded in 1958 from a department that began in College of the Pacific dating back to the 1930s.
Eberhardt School Of Business
The beige colors of business provide a background for this banner. The school was founded in 1977 and renamed in honor of Robert M. Eberhardt and the Eberhardt Family in 1995 to recognize the extensive and generous support of Pacific from them and the Bank of Stockton.
School Of Health Sciences
Sage green traditionally represents degrees which focus on health and rehabilitation. The school was established in 2020 and incorporated programs previously administered by College of the Pacific, the Dugoni School and the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.
The Order of Pacific is the highest award the University can give. The Order of Pacific is intended to honor members of the University regents, faculty, administration and staff who have given distinguished service and made outstanding contributions to the University over a significant number of years.
It is awarded to express the University's esteem and appreciation for the recipient's dedication to Pacific.
Words & Music by Lois Warner Winston COP '23
From o'er the rugged mountains standing high;
From Out the broad low valleys, 'neath the sky;
Our alma mater calls, We cannot fail,
Our voices blend in praise, Pacific Hail! Pacific Hail!
Long may her flaming torch give out its light;
Long may her spirit guide us in the right;
To her we pledge our hearts, We dare not fail;
To her we raise our song,
Pacific Hail! Pacific Hail!