Dean and students at Commencement
Save the date!

Commencement events for the Dugoni School of Dentistry will be taking place June 16–18, 2023. Find information for the public here, including the schedule.

Commencement Weekend Schedule

Friday, June 16, 2023 | 6:30 pm
Alumni Banquet & Class of 2023 Awards Ceremony
The Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco

Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 10:00 am
Thanks A Bunch Brunch
InterContinental, 888 Howard St., San Francisco

Sunday, June 18, 2023 | 2:00 pm
The Masonic, 1111 California St., San Francisco

Highest Honors

The valedictorian is the graduating student with the highest overall grade point average for the entire program.  The salutatorian is the student with the second highest overall grade point average for the entire program.

High Honors

Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society, was chartered the Delta Delta Chapter at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1934. The society's purpose is to encourage scholarship and to advance ethical standards of the dental profession. Membership is limited to 12% of the graduating class selected based upon scholarship and character. 

Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society in higher education with a chapter at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine. It is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary honor society in existence. Admission to this honor society is by invitation only and requires both superior scholarship and good character as criteria for membership. The name Phi Kappa Phi comes from the initial letters of the Greek words forming its adopted motto: Philosophia Krateito Photon, "Let the love of learning rule humanity."


Tau Kappa Omega, the dental school's own honor society, was organized at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1927 for promotion of honor and service to the alma mater. Students are admitted on the basis of ideals, scholarship and character.

Distinctive academic dress is traced back to universities of the Middle Ages where students and faculty wore the robes of the clergy. Today, three ranks of degree (bachelors, masters, and doctorate) are distinguished through variations in the academic gown.  Additionally, the color and lining of the hood indicate the discipline and the university that awarded the degree.

In the United States, gowns are generally black, although a few universities have adopted other colors for their doctoral gowns. The field of study in which the degree is awarded is shown by the color of the edging of the hood, and in some cases by the color of the facing and crossbars on the doctoral gown. Some of the frequently seen colors are white (arts and letters), pink (music), dark blue (philosophy), light blue (education), scarlet (divinity), golden yellow (science), olive green (pharmacy) and purple (law). The color of dentistry is lilac.

The colors of the lining of the hood are those of the institution awarding the degree. For example, University of the Pacific colors are burnt orange and black, and these colors line the hood. Doctoral tassels generally are gold, and bachelor's and master's tassels are black.  An olive green tassel is often worn on the cap to signify the field of pharmacy.  The left side of the mortarboard is the proper side to wear the tassel after the formal awarding of the degree.

An individual's degree is revealed by the type of gown and width of the edging on the hood. Bachelor's gowns have full, pointed sleeves with no trimming. The hoods have a two-inch edging. Master's gowns prior to 1960 had full, closed sleeves with the arm emerging through a slit at the elbow. The gown was the despair of wearers because, no matter how hot the day, a coat must be worn under it. In 1960, however, the gown was modified; in place of the elbow slit, an opening was made at the wrist and the gown was made to close. The hoods have a three-inch edging.

Doctoral gowns are silk, have rounded sleeves, velvet facing down the front, and three velvet crossbars on each sleeve. The hoods have side panels and a five-inch facing.

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 to 16th-century England, when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to 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.

Robert E. Burns, president of University of the Pacific from 1946 to 1971, asked Stuart Devlin, an internationally renowned London silver designer, to create the Pacific mace. It was commissioned in recognition of the University's transition from a college to a university.  Several colleges and professional schools at Pacific were modeled after Oxford and Cambridge.

The university mace was first used at a Founder's Day Ceremony on March 6, 1966.  It 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 former 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.

2022 Archive

Photo gallery

View all Commencement photos at Smugmug

Commencement Video