The Inauguration of President Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.

Inauguration Traditions

The University Mace

The University Mace is traditionally carried at the head of academic processions as a symbol of educational authority and institutional identity.

The mace consists of a fifty-six-inch polished aluminum staff topped by an engraved great seal of the University with sunburst accents formed by cut-metal rays. The symbol of the Society of Jesus appears on the rear of the mace. The seal is echoed on the verges, which consist of shorter hardwood rods tipped with an engraved great seal on brass. The seal with sunburst accents also appears on other ceremonial items, including the Presidential Medallion.

Academic Regalia

The colorful attire worn by the participants in the procession has its roots in medieval traditions that reach back to the earliest universities – to Paris, Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge. The precise origins of the several parts of the academic garb are unknown, but since medieval students enjoyed the status of clerics during their university years, we assume that their attire was inspired by the clerical dress of the time. Early European universities required students and teachers to wear distinctive gowns at all times. The tradition was brought to this country in colonial times, but the requirement for students soon disappeared and professors limited the custom to special occasions.

The Gown

Gowns are generally black, and there are three basic types. The bachelor’s gown is plain with a fairly elaborate yoke and long, pointed sleeves. It is worn closed. The master’s gown is similar to the bachelor’s except that the sleeves are open at the forearms and end with an extra, square-shaped swatch of cloth that originally formed a pocket for reading and writing materials. Master’s gowns are worn either open or closed. The doctoral gown, the most elaborate of the three, is adorned with velvet panels on the closed front and around the neck and three velvet bars on each full, bell-shaped sleeve. Although black is the most common color, the velvet panels and sleeve bars may vary according to the faculty that granted the wearer’s degree.

The Hood

The colors of the hood reveal the level of a degree, the major field of learning in which the degree was awarded, and the institution by which the degree was conferred. The bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral hoods are three, three and one-half, and four feet long, respectively. The all-encompassing velvet trim that denotes the field of learning is likewise two, three, or five inches, respectively. The lining of the hood is worn exposed to show the colors of the school awarding the degree. Most schools have a two-color pattern using chevrons or bars to differentiate schools whose colors may be alike or very similar. The University of Scranton hood, for example, is lined in royal purple with a white chevron.

The Cap

Generally, the mortarboard or Oxford cap is worn with all degrees, although an Elizabethan-style soft cap is used with some doctoral attire. Black tassels are most often used, but many schools have adopted the practice of using tassels matching the hood color. Doctors and presidents of institutions frequently wear a gold tassel.

Colors Representing Fields of Learning

Arts, Letters,Humanities White
Business Drab
Economics Copper
Education Light Blue
Engineering Orange
Fine Arts Brown
Law Purple
Library Science Lemon
Medicine Green
Music Pink
Nursing Apricot
Oratory Silver Gray
Philosophy Blue
Public Health Salmon
Physical Education Sage Green
Science Yellow
Social Science Citron
Theology Scarlet

The Heraldic Banners

The University commissioned the ten heraldic banners carried in the academic procession to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the founding of the first Jesuit college in Messina, Sicily (1548), and the 110th anniversary of the founding of Saint Thomas College (1888), the precursor of The University of Scranton. The heraldic devices on the banners bear witness to the influences that have endowed the University with its distinctive identity.

The banner adorned with the seal of the Society of Jesus (IHS, surmounted with a cross above three nails and surrounded with a halo of rays) announces that
The University of Scranton is a Jesuit university.

The banner adorned with the seal of the family of Saint Ignatius Loyola (a golden cauldron suspended between two wolves) bears witness to the fact that the University’s educational philosophy is derived from the thought of Saint Ignatius (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.

The banner adorned with the seal of the Diocese of Scranton (a star rising between two crossed keys) recalls and celebrates the fact that the University was founded by the Most Reverend William O’Hara, D.D., the first Bishop of Scranton.

The banner adorned with the seal of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (the five-pointed star) honors the Christian Brothers’ half century of devoted service to the students of Saint Thomas College and The University of Scranton.

The banner adorned with a device drawn from the seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the stacks of wheat) both identifies the University’s location and proclaims its special mission to the citizens of Pennsylvania.

The banner adorned with the iconic symbol of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the radiant sunburst) recalls both the name of the University’s precursor college (Saint Thomas College) and announces that Saint Thomas remains the heavenly patron of the University.

The banner adorned with the crown refers to the nickname of the University’s athletic teams (The Royals) and announces that, in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, all of the sons and daughters of the University are called to follow Christ the King.

The banner adorned with the picture of the sailing ship celebrates the devoted service that the members of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus (whose ancestors in the faith arrived in America in 1634 aboard the sailing ships the Ark and the Dove) have rendered to the University and its students since 1942.

The banner adorned with the Cross of Patonce suspended above an unfurled banner bears witness to the fact that the University is a Christian institution of higher learning. The legend on the banner bears the motto of the University: “Religio, Mores, Cultura.”

The banner adorned with the Chi Rho superimposed upon an open book testifies to the University’s belief that, as its Mission Statement says, “Jesus Christ is the primary source for the values and attitudes that imbue the culture of its campus.”

The Presidential Medallion

In ancient and medieval Europe medallions of office were worn as breastplates by figures of authority or distinction. The University of Scranton Presidential Medallion is such a symbol, and it continues the tradition of incorporating educational, religious and historic icons that describe the institution’s distinctive character.

The center of the medallion is an enameled great seal of the University with rays. The principal colors of the seal are the traditional colors of the University, white and royal purple. On the purple field is a horizontal silver bar containing, in purple, a star derived from the Seal of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and from the seal of Saint Thomas College, predecessor of the University, and two stacks of wheat from the obverse of the coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The upper half of the seal contains, in gold, two wolves grasping a cauldron suspended from a chain. They are taken from the coat of arms of the family of Saint Ignatius Loyola, and they identify the University as a Jesuit institution. Below the silver bar is a golden rising sun, symbolic of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the shining light of the Church and the Patron of the University.

Indicating the Diocese of Scranton and William Penn, founder of the Commonwealth, the black border of the shield reproduces the border of the shield of the Diocese, and the silver hemispheres are taken from William Penn’s coat of arms. The crest is a golden cross of the style Patonce. It symbolizes Christ, the goal and the norm of the University’s educational efforts, and it complements the motto, which the University has had since it was entrusted to the care of the Christian Brothers in 1897: “Religio, Mores, Cultura.”

The outer ring surrounding the seal includes the name and founding date of the University and reference to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Presidential Medallion is worn on a silver chain with links inspired by carved wooden moldings in The Estate. It is engraved with the names of the previous presidents and the founder of the University. The chain is connected by a link adorned with the symbol of the Society of Jesus.

The medallion was designed and crafted for the University by Mr. William Reidsema of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.