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.

Pacific has a number of ways in which we recognize outstanding faculty and staff contributions to the university, and we encourage you to consider nominating your colleagues for one of the awards listed below. It is a proud moment for the university when we honor the teachers, scholars and staff members who make Pacific such an extraordinary place, and we hope you will join us in this salute.

The following awards are usually presented at Commencement each year:

  • Order of Pacific
  • University Distinguished Faculty Award

The following awards are acknowledged at Commencement each year:

  • Eberhardt Teacher-Scholar Award
  • Faculty Research Lecturer Award
  • United Methodist University Scholar/Teacher of the Year

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
  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Doctoral
  • Faculty beginning with instructors, lecturers, assistants, and associates
  • Professors by rank (in order of seniority, newest last)
  • Officers of the University
  • Honorary Degree Recipients
  • 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.

University Library

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 remains 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.

Benerd College

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.

Graduate School

Although graduate degrees were offered early in the history of the University, a formal graduate school organization was established in 1956. The banner combines the elements of the arts and letters and sciences with the orange and black colors of the University.

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 International Studies

The blue of represents the international nature of the school programs that include study-abroad opportunities in more than 100 locations. The school opened in 1987 and incorporated as a school within College of the Pacific in 2012.

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.

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!

Pacific Hail!