Gonfalons are ceremonial flags or banners suspended from a crossbar. The use of ceremonial banners dates back to the 1500s. Italian towns, for example, each have a gonfalon, which is the official emblem of the town, showing its coat of arms.

At Kent Campus commencement ceremonies, student representatives lead their fellow graduates in with their college gonfalons. Each of the eight college gonfalons are emblazoned with the Kent State seal on an academic color of one of the college's disciplines, established by academic protocol.