commencement-livestream-graphic 2018

Congratulations!  We commend you for your hard work and perseverance.

This is where you will find all the information you need about graduation.

Baccalaureate Service – Thursday, April 26, 2018 – Wilcox Chapel – 11:00 AM

Commencement Service – Saturday, May 5, 2018 – Rex Pyles Coliseum – 10:00 AM

If you have questions about the successful completion of your academic requirements for graduation, or if you have concerns regarding your eligibility to participate in commencement exercises, please contact your academic adviser immediately.

Disability Services: Special seating is available for guests with physical limitations.  Please contact Anna Marsh in the Provost/Executive V.P. of Academic Affairs office at (304) 457-6201 to request seating accommodations.  Arrangements should be made no later than noon on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

Graduates with disabilities should contact their disability services counselor (ACES Office at (304) 457-6274) to make arrangements for accommodations.


No tickets are required, everyone is welcome!

Click here to send a note of “congratulations” to your graduate or here to send a “thank  you” to your support system (parents, family, etc.).

Graduate FairWednesday, April 18, 2018Campus Center10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Baccalaureate ServiceThursday, April 26, 2018Wilcox Chapel11:00 AM
Graduates: Report to Room 1 (band room bottom floor, Wilcox Chapel) no later than 10:40 AM
Commencement ServiceSaturday, May 5, 2018Rex Pyles Coliseum10:00 AM
Graduates: Report to Myers Auditorium, Ground Floor, no later than 9:30 AM


Wilcox Chapel
Thursday, April 26, 2018
11:00 a.m.

Graduates:   Report to Burbick Lobby no later than 10:40 a.m.
All undergraduates should wear their cap and gown

Faculty/Staff, Platform Participants and Students: Meet in the lobby of Burbick Hall.

In case of rain, Faculty/Staff will meet in the Meditation Chapel, Platform Participants will gather in the hallway, and Students will meet in the Band Room on the ground floor.

Baccalaureate will be streamed with live video/audio by clicking here.

Rex Pyles Coliseum
Saturday, May 5, 2018
10:00 a.m.

Commencement Schedule – please note, this schedule is updated as needed

Report no later than 9:30 a.m. to the following areas:
Graduates: Myers Auditorium, Ground Floor
Faculty:  Myers Hall, Ground floor lobby
Platform Participants:  Burbick Hall Lobby
Music  Coliseum

In the case of rain, alternative instructions will be posted on the doors of Myers Hall.

**The order of march for Commencement is Faculty (according to rank-emeriti, professors to instructors), Administrative Officers, Junior Escorts, Graduates, and Platform Participants.  The graduates will march from Myers Hall to the top of the steps leading to the Coliseum where they will process after the faculty.

Special Instructions for Graduates
The Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs will say, “Mr. President, I should like to present the members of the 2018 graduating class who are candidates for their respective degrees”.  At this point, the class will rise as a group.  After the President responds, all graduates except the first row will be seated.  Graduating men should put on their caps and leave them on throughout the remainder of the ceremony.  The first row, which has remained standing, will proceed immediately to the steps of the stage on their right in single file. In turn, hand the card to the Provost and remain in place until your name is announced. Proceed to walk, in front of the podium, towards the President, grasp your diploma with your left hand, and extend your right hand to receive congratulations. Descend the left-hand steps and return to your seat.  When only three graduates in the first row remain to receive diplomas, the second row will stand and proceed to the right-hand steps as the first row had done.  Other rows will proceed likewise until all graduates receive their diplomas.

At the direction of the Senior Class President, seniors will move their tassels from the right side of the mortarboards to the left side.

The Academic Recession
After the singing of the Alma Mater, we will move into the recessional in the following order:  platform personnel will lead the way, followed by the Graduates, Faculty, Administrative Officers, and Trustees as guided by the Junior Escorts.

Future Dates:
2019 Commencement: Saturday, May 4, 2019

Must I wear regalia at the graduation ceremony?

Yes.  Academic regalia is required for participation in all AB Commencement and baccalaureate ceremonies. We want Baccalaureate and Commencement to be the truly impressive occasions they should be.  This can only be accomplished if each participant makes every effort to fit his/her appearance and behavior to the occasion.

Where can I order regalia?

Official AB regalia are available at the AB Bookstore location.  Cap/Gown and tassel orders are due in to the Alderson Broaddus University Bookstore by February 23, 2018.

Please contact Ed Burda in the bookstore, by phone at (304) 457-6238 or by e-mail  Please note that AB graduates wear a customized blue gown with an AB logo. The purchase price of the cap and gown is included in your graduation fee.

When will regalia be available for pick up?

Academic regalia can be picked up during the Graduate Fair on April 18, 2018 or from the Bookstore after that date until May 5th.

What is academic regalia?

An academic robe is worn over regular clothes (except that in warm weather men who have gowns of a style that close in front may remove their coats).  Men should wear dark suits, white shirts with four-in-hand ties (never bow ties).  Both men and women should wear dark shoes.  No gum chewing, please.

A cap is an essential part of an academic costume and should be worn with the gown at all times.  Men should remove their caps during the singing of the national anthem or alma mater and during prayers.  At other times, follow the President of the College.  The cap should be worn straight on the head, pulled well down over the forehead.  Tassels should be worn over the left edge of the mortarboard, for all persons except graduating seniors.  They should wear tassels over the right edge until after the appropriate point late in the ceremony.  Degree hoods should be checked to be sure they hang properly.

What color tassel do I wear with my gown and on what side should it be worn?

Please refer to the guide at the bottom of this page for the correct color selection of tassels. If your specific major is not listed, staff at the AB Bookstore can assist you.  Tassels should be worn over the right edge of the mortarboard until after the appropriate point in the ceremony.  Only those who have earned an undergraduate degree may wear the tassel over the left edge of the mortarboard.

Can I wear honor cords, stoles, medallions, etc.?

Graduates are permitted to wear honor or organizational cords, pins, or stoles in conjunction with the graduation gown; however, please be mindful of the solemnity of the baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies and limit the adornments to one item only, selected by the graduate (e.g., stoles which represent the graduates country of origin [international students]; Silver Key honor cords; organization cords from organizations such as Sigma Alpha Iota, etc; nursing or education pins).  Also, the practice of personalized messages on the graduation cap is discouraged.  Your cooperation in adhering to this practice as described above is appreciated.

What if I am receiving more than one degree?

If you are a double major, you may wear the tassel color of the degrees you are receiving.

What attire should I wear beneath my gown?

Dark trousers, slacks, skirts, and dresses are appropriate, as are dress shirts and ties.  Comfortable shoes are highly recommended!  Temperatures in the venues can fluctuate.  Although sweaters and jackets are not suggested underneath gowns because of their bulk, dressing in thin layers may be helpful.

Tassel Color Guide

Regalia worn by the graduates include different colored tassels.  The designated color for each major is provided by the American Council on Education Academic Costumes and Ceremonies Committee
The following is a list of the colors and majors:

WHITE: creative writing, general studies, history, family studies

GOLD: biology, computing, chemistry, psychology, natural science, radiography, mathematics, enviro. science

LIGHT BLUE: elementary education, secondary education

BROWN: visual arts

GREEN: physician assistant studies, health science

DRAB: accounting, business administration, marketing

PINK: applied music, music education, musical arts

APRICOT: nursing

SILVER/GRAY: communications

SAGE GREEN: physical education, recreational sports management, therapeutic recreation, athletic training

SCARLET: Christian studies

CITRON: political science

BLUE: criminal justice


Faculty participating in graduation should wear academic regalia from their alma mater.  Faculty are also encouraged to wear a tam or cap with their academic regalia.  Suit jackets are not recommended for wear underneath gowns.

Faculty and staff should report for robing for these events at the following times and places:

Baccalaureate April 26, 2018
Report for robing at 10:40 a.m.
Lobby of Burbick Hall

Commencement May 5, 2018
Report for robing at 9:30 a.m.
Myers Hall lobby

In the event of rain, alternate instructions will be posted on the doors of Myers Hall.

Please address questions to Dr. Charlie Chen (ext. 6277), Ms. Sarah Stevens (ext. 6408), Mr. John Hicks (ext. 6319), or Ms. Kari Maxwell (ext. 6275), Faculty Marshalls, or Ms. Anna Marsh (ext. 6201).

Academic Procession

Graduates will march single file in procession; all others will march double file.  Please keep about two yards (never less than an arm’s length) from the person in front of you.  This may even necessitate coming to a halt when the procession slows while the people ahead of you are being seated.

The procession will begin from Burbick Lobby and proceed to the main chapel in Wilcox Chapel.

The order of march for Commencement is:

Faculty (according to rank-emeriti, professors to instructors)
Administrative Officers
Junior Escorts
Platform Participants

The procession will begin from Myers Hall lobby where the platform participants will process to Myers Hall and join the procession to the Coliseum for Commencement.

The Academic Recession

After the singing of the Alma Mater, we will move into the recessional in the following order:

platform personnel will lead the way followed by trustees and guests

followed by the Graduates (led by Junior escorts)

Please click here for Google Maps directions to Alderson Braoddus University.

Please click here for directions from I-79.

Please click here for the campus map and parking areas.

Lodging in and around Philippi will fill quickly during commencement season.

We have compiled a list of local accommodations.

Shuttle service will be available on Commencement day from the upper areas of Alderson Broaddus Campus to the Coliseum (where the ceremonies will be held).

Handicap seating is available at various places throughout the venue.

Ushers will be at the door to assist those who need it.

Handicap parking is on  a first come, first serve basis around the Coliseum.

Assistance will be given to those dropped off at the entrance and will direct the driver to suitable parking.

Graduates needing accessibility services should contact their accessibility services counselor to request accommodations.

Please contact Anna Marsh at (304) 457-6201 to request accommodations or more information.

2018 Commencement Speaker


The Alderson Broaddus University Seal

The official seal bears the founding date, 1871, as well as a candle, which signifies the torch of learning an open book, the Bible, which signifies a source of knowledge and truth.  The Latin words, Ex Obscuritate in Lucem is translated “out of darkness into light”.

The Presidential Medallion

The Presidential Medallion is worn by the President at all formal academic functions where regalia is required.

The Mace

In the Middle Ages, the mace was used by knights as a weapon.  However, since the 14th century the mace has been used as a ceremonial symbol of authority.

The mace used in the ceremony today is a piece carved from a single block of cherry wood by AB alumnus Mark Warner ’68.  The mace carving includes the Latin wording and symbols from the official college seal.  The case in which the mace will be displayed and stored was also made by Warner.  It bears the inscription, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Marshals and Mace Bearer

The tradition of academic marshals comes from storied English universities.  The Marshal are the chief protocol officers who coordinate the ceremonial traditions of commencement, including the processional and recessional.  Marshals are typically members of the faculty.  Student marshals help facilitate graduate processions and recessions during ceremonies.  The Mace Bearer is responsible for the school’s mace and leading the ceremonial marches.

Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees, higher education’s most prestigious recognition, are reserved for eminent individuals with national or international reputations.  Recipients are typically leading scholars, discoverers, inventors, authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, social activists, and leaders in politics or government.  Honorary degrees are also awarded to people who have rendered lifelong service to the university through board membership, volunteerism, or major financial contributions.

Recipients are not necessarily graduates of the awarding institution; rather, the school often views the degree as an opportunity to establish ties with a prominent person.  At some schools, honorary degree recipients deliver the commencement and/or baccalaureate address, but this is not a requirement.  Honorary degree recipients are selected through a nomination process established by a school’s governing body, and its own trustees.

Honorary degrees are conferred “honoris causa”, a Latin term meaning “for the sake of honor”.  Honorary degrees are not Ph.D., nor do they entitle the recipient to the same professional privileges as individuals who have earned degrees.  Honorary degree recipients are properly addressed as “doctor” in correspondence from the university/college that awarded the honorary degree and in conversation.

Because honorary degrees are so prestigious, it is imperative to award them with solemnity.  Honorary degrees are often presented at commencement to take advantage of the pomp and circumstance already in place and to accommodate the largest possible audience.


Graduates will march single file in procession; all others will march double file.  Please keep about two yards (never less than an arm’s length) from the person in front of you.  This may even necessitate coming to a halt when the procession slows while the people ahead of you are being seated.

The order of march for Baccalaureate will begin at Burbick Hall to Wilcox Chapel.

The order of march for Commencement is Faculty (according to rank-emeriti, professors to instructors), Administrative Officers, Junior Escorts, Graduates, and Platform Participants.  The procession will begin from Myers Hall where the platform participants will process to Myers Hall and join the procession to the Coliseum for Commencement.

Academic Regalia

The academic gown, as used in America, is really a uniform.  On its historic and picturesque side it serves to remind those who don it of the continuity and dignity of learning, and recalls the honored roll of English-speaking university men.  On its democratic side, it subdues the differences in dress arising from the differences in taste, fashion, manners and wealth, and clothes all with the outward grace of equal fellowship which has ever been claimed as an inner fact in the republic of learning.
{picture of AB gown]


Hoods are the most expressive component of the academic costume.  With modest beginnings as head-warming cowls on medieval monks’ cloaks, hoods today communicate the owner’s school, degree, and field of study through their length and the colors of the lining and binding.

Actually, today’s hoods are not really hoods at all.  Instead, they have evolved from a serviceable article of clothing to a type of elongated scarf draped over the shoulders and displayed down the back with the lining turned inside out.

Master’s degree hoods are three and one-half feet long, while doctor’s degree hoods are four feet in length.

Hoods are lined with the official school color or colors, hood linings indicate where the wearers earned their degrees.  Almost always, these are the schools’ athletic colors.  Hood linings are typically made of silk or equivalent synthetic fiber.

Binding, also called edging, trim, or borders, is the term for the velvet or velveteen sewn around the edge of the hood.  The color indicates the wearer’s field of study;  for master’s degrees, three inches, for specialist’s degrees, four inches, and for doctorate, five inches.

Faculty Colors and Tassels

Color is an important element of all academic ceremonies.  Not only does it lend beauty, its use on hoods, robes, tassels, and flags carry symbolic meaning that stretches back to the Middle Ages when color and costume conveyed to the mostly illiterate populace visual messages about rank and occupation.

In academics, the colors used to symbolize degrees earned and areas of study are referred to as “faculty colors”.  They are displayed on doctor’s gowns, edgings of hoods, tassels on caps, and flags or banners that represent each college.  The following colors are based on tradition.

White was assigned to the arts and humanities to recall the white fur trim used on hoods at England’s Oxford and Cambridge universities.

  • Pink, also originating at Oxford, was designed for music.
  • Russet brown, reminiscent of the dress of English foresters, is thus used by forestry.
  • Purple, the color of royalty and governance, is used by law.
  • Scarlet red, the traditional color of the church, was given to theology.
  • Green, the color of healing herbs, represents medicine.
  • Olive was assigned to pharmacy because of the discipline’s close association with medicine.
  • Golden yellow, symbolizing the sunlight or enlightenment of discovery, goes to science.
  • Blue represents wisdom and truth and therefore chosen for philosophy.
  • Dark blue was adopted by the Intercollegiate Bureau of Academic Costume and added to the Academic Costume Code in 1986 to indicate the Ph.D. degree in any discipline.

On the subject of adding colors to represent new fields of study, the code is clear, “…the fundamental guidelines of the academic costume code may be adapted to local conditions.  Such adaptations are entirely acceptable as long as they are reasonable and faithful to the spirit of the traditions that give rise to the code”.  As an alternative, black tassels are correct for any degree and offer a ready option for student earning degrees in new disciplines.  Other official Academic Costume Code faculty colors to be used for tassels, trimmings of doctor’s gowns, and bindings on hoods.

Agriculture – Maize
Commerce, Accountancy, Business – Drab
Dentistry – Lilac
Economics – Copper
Education – Light Blue
Engineering –  Orange
Fine Arts, including Architecture – Brown
Journalism – Crimson
Library Science – Lemon
Nursing – Apricot
Oratory (Speech) – Silver Gray
Physical Education – Sage Green
Public Administration, including Foreign Service – Peacock Blue
Public Health – Salmon Pink
Social Work – Citron
Veterinary Science – Gray

In recent years, a custom has developed of wearing the tassel on the right side before candidates receive their degrees, and then moved to the left side afterward.  Known as a “tassel ceremony,” this move is done in unison and orchestrated from the podium after all candidates have received their diplomas.  Moving the tassel has become a modern substitute for individual choosing, especially at the bachelor’s level.  The saying, “On the left when you leave”, has taken root to help candidates remember how to place their tassels.  Master’s and doctoral candidates may correctly march in the processional with their tassels on the left signifying their previous degree or degrees.

Faculty Colors on Hoods and Ph.D. Gowns

The edging, or binding, of both master’s and doctoral hoods is made of velvet in the color that pertains to the degree.  Bindings should be one color only, not divided to indicate multiple degrees.

Doctoral hood bindings can be either the color of the discipline or dark blue to represent mastery of the discipline of learning.  Doctoral gowns have velvet facings on the front and three velvet bars across the sleeves.  These bars may be either black, dark blue, or the color of the discipline to which the degree pertains.

Doctoral Gowns

Doctorates wear the most elaborate of all academic gowns, as befits their status at the highest level of scholarship.  Fuller and more flowing than masters or bachelor’s gowns, doctors’ gowns fall approximately six inches above the wearer’s ankle and have distinctive billowy, bell-shaped sleeves.

The only one with any trim, the doctor’s gown has a front facing of velvet and three bars of velvet across the sleeves.  These facings and bars can be either black, doctoral blue, or the faculty color of the academic discipline to which the degree pertains.

It is proper to wear the gown closed or open.  Black is the recommended traditional color.

Master’s Gowns

The distinctive feature of the master’s degree gown is its unusual sleeves.  This peculiar design lets the hands come out at the usual place, but a long rectangular piece of cloth on the backside of each sleeve dangles to the wearer’s knees.  On the most traditional, the ends of the sleeve appendage are cut into crescent shapes.  The black gown has no trim, should reach to about six inches above the ankle, and can be worn open or closed.

Bachelor’s Gowns

Traditional bachelor’s gowns are black, fall to just above the ankle, feature a pleated yolk and twin front fabric panels, and have distinctive long pointed sleeves that are intended to have fullness and drape.  Today, most bachelor’s gowns have straight-bottomed sleeves.  The gown is designed to be worn closed.

Presidential Regalia

Based on the design of the traditional doctoral gown, presidential regalia are of the finest quality fabric and styling.  Presidents are the only academics entitled to wear a fourth velvet sleeve chevron.  Presidential regalia are retained by the school and worn only while the president is in office.  The president’s costume is completed by either a doctor’s tam and gold tassel or a mortarboard with a long or short gold or black tassel.

Trustee Regalia

Regardless of their earned degrees, members of a school’s governing body are entitled to wear doctoral gowns trimmed in black velvet.  Members of a school’s governing body wear hoods either of their own earned degrees or those “especially prescribed for them by the institution.”  Such hoods are not indicative of any degree, but instead are custom-designed to complement the gown.  Trustee hoods are four feet long, or doctor’s length.  Headgear can range from the popular choice of a velvet tam with a short gold tassel, or mortarboard with thread tassels.

Honorary Degree Recipient Regalia

Honorary degree candidates wear a black doctor’s gown with black-velvet facings and sleeve chevrons and a tam with gold tassel, or a mortarboard with either gold- or black-thread tassel.  He or she is hooded with the school’s doctors’ hood trimmed in the appropriate faculty color.

Mortarboards and Tams

No one knows for certain how mortarboards came to be part of the academic costume, but there are several plausible theories.  Where the actual mortarboard shape came from is subject to speculation.  Regardless of how the tradition started, illustrations from Oxford in 1674 show a scholar wearing a mortarboard little different from ours today.  The mortarboard is worn by all degrees.  They should be black and covered with the same fabric as the gown.  The hat is properly worn flat on the head with the pointed undercap pulled onto the wearer’s forehead.  It should be parallel to the ground, not cocked back on the head, so that the tassel can fall straight down the side of the wearer’s face.  The academic costume is not complete and correct without the mortarboard.

In recent years, however, soft velvet tams with four, six, or eight corners have become popular, superseding the mortarboard as the headgear of choice for doctorates.  Black mortarboards, however, are still correct for doctorates to wear.  The tam is properly placed flat on the wearer’s head.  It should not be pulled too far forward onto the forehead like a beret, nor should it cling precariously to the back of the head.  The preferred color is black, although some schools’ special regalia include colored tams for doctors.

Mortarboards and tams are worn throughout the academic procession and conferral of degrees.  Men should remove their hats as a sign of respect during the national anthem, prayer, and alma mater.  Other appropriate but optional times are during the commencement address and baccalaureate sermon.  Women are not required to remove headgear at any time.  Traditionally, removal is done in unison and orchestrated by a verbal signal from the podium.

Honorary Degree Recipient Regalia

Honorary degree candidates wear a black doctor’s gown with black-velvet facings and sleeve chevrons and a tam with gold tassel, or a mortarboard with either gold- or black-thread tassel.  He or she is hooded with the school’s doctors’ hood trimmed in the appropriate faculty color.


The flags from various states and countries are displayed in the campus center.  During commencement flags will be displayed on the platform.  The flags represent the states and countries of students who are attending Alderson Broaddus University.

Source: Harris, A.L. (2005).  Academic Ceremonies:  A handbook of traditions and protocol. Washington, DC: CASE.

Graduation photography services are provided by The Barbour Democrat, LLC. Photos from the graduation ceremony may be viewed and purchased online at

For more information, please call (304) 457-2222.

Welcome to the Alderson Broaddus University Alumni Association

Upon receiving your degree from Alderson Broaddus University, you will automatically become a member of the Alderson Broaddus University Alumni Association.  There are no fees required to belong to this Association.

As a member, we hope that you will stay connected with us.  Let us know where you are so we can send you publications, notices of alumni events and activities, and keep your records up-to-date.  Send a change of address to us whenever you move.  Drop us a note if you get married, have a baby, get a new job, etc.  Click here to complete the form.

We also want to encourage you to participate in the numerous alumni events and activities that are planned throughout the year.  Make it a priority to attend at least one (or more!) alumni events in the coming year.  For a complete list of alumni events and activities, visit the Homecoming 2016 page.

Remember the Alumni Office staff is here to serve you.  If you have questions, comments, or simply want to inform us of changes or happenings in your life, please call or write anytime.

You can email us at or call (304) 457-6202.

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