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Northwest Missouri State University

The Inauguration of John Jasinski, Ph.D.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Inauguration Facts

An inauguration is made up of many different events, but the actual ceremony where the president is formally instated is called the installation ceremony. Attendees include students, faculty/staff and alumni as well as delegates from other universities, community leaders and elected officials.

Symbols and apparel you will see at the inauguration will include the following:

The Presidential Chain-of-Office

Many colleges and universities have a chain-of-office that symbolizes the office of the president of the institution, and which is worn during all academic ceremonies.

At Northwest, this medallion consists of the seal of the University set in an octagonal frame derived from the design of an Administration Building turret mounted on a piece of walnut. The medallion has the same design as the Regents' Medallions. Engraved on the rectangular links forming the chain are the names of the previous presidents and the years they held office.

Northwest's Presidential Chain-of-Office, which is passed from one president to the next, thus records the succession of those who have served as the institution's highest administrative officer.

The Regents' Medallions and the Presidential Chain-of-Office were designed by Lee Hageman, Robert Sunkel and Philip Van Voorst, former faculty members of the Department of Art. They were produced by Professors Hageman and Van Voorst in 1977.

Ceremonial Mace

The mace was created in recognition of the University's centennial by President Emeritus Dean L. Hubbard.

Dr. Hubbard crafted the mace's towered crown from the wood of an Austrian pine that once stood on the lawn of the Gaunt House, Northwest's historic presidential residence. It is believed the tree was one of several planted about the time the home was built in 1870. Walnut from another campus tree forms the mace's handle, to which Dr. Hubbard has applied an elegant satin finish.

The eight-sided crown is in the shape of one of the Administration Building's distinctive Tudor Revival turrets, the architectural feature most closely associated with Northwest history and tradition.

Historically, a mace was an offensive and defensive weapon made of iron and capable of breaking armor. In other words, it was a giant club and came to be associated with those who guarded the king.

By the middle of the 13th century, ceremonial maces had become a symbol of authority, dignity and privilege. English universities have used maces in academic processions for many centuries, a practice that has become part of the traditional pageantry at many American institutions as well.

American Academic Costume

The regalia worn during academic ceremonies evolved from the everyday attire of students and teachers at European universities during the Middle Ages.

In the United States, the square mortarboard is the most common head covering. Tassels are either black or one of a number of colors associated with specific scholarly fields. Short gold tassels are reserved for those with doctoral degrees.

Gowns worn by those with doctoral degrees have velvet trim down the front and three velvet bars on each sleeve. When these bars indicate the academic discipline of the degree holder, they appear in the same color as the border of the hood. In other cases, the trim is dark blue or black and simply means that the wearer holds an earned or honorary doctorate.

Hoods are worn by those with advanced degrees. Like trimmed gowns, hoods display colors that represent the wearer's discipline and degree-granting institution.

American colleges and universities often adopt distinctive regalia for members of governing boards and chief administrative officers. At Northwest, members of the Board of Regents and the president wear green gowns trimmed with green velvet and white piping. Hoods worn with these gowns retain the colors associated with the wearer's academic field and the school or schools where advanced degrees were earned.

Northwest regents have velvet, four-sided tams with white tassels, while the president has an eight-sided bonnet with a distinctive doctoral tassel. Each regent also wears a medallion identical in design to the one suspended from the president's Chain-of-Office.