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

Commencement Service – Friday, August 21, 2020 – Wilcox Chapel – 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, August 19, 2020.

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

No tickets required, everyone is welcome!

Lodging Information

Campus Map


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

Faculty, graduates and platform participants should report for robing for these events at the following places by 9:30 a.m.:

Graduates: Burbick Hall Lobby

Faculty: Burbick Hall Lobby

Platform Participants: Burbick Hall Lobby

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. The Mace Bearer is responsible for the school’s mace and leading the ceremonial marches.

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.

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.

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.


The flags from various states and countries are displayed today during commencement.  The flags represent the states and countries of students who are graduating today from Alderson Broaddus University.

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

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 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.