Wearing a hood and robe as academic apparel is believed to have originated at the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Styling of the robes varies for the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, while the color of the velvet border indicates the type of degree held and the lining designates the official colors of the institution granting it.
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 college gonfalons are emblazoned with the Kent State seal on an academic color of one of the college's disciplines, established by academic protocol.
The chair of Faculty Senate carries the mace as the official University Mace Bearer. The mace symbolizes academic authority. The Kent State University mace was created and crafted by alumnus Michael V. Jaszczak.
The central motif of the university seal retains the sun of the State seal, signifying state ownership and is symbolic of the light of knowledge and wisdom. The shield suggests the geographic shape of Ohio. The bird, which symbolizes leadership, is the chimney swift, a species that colonizes on campus and seems to be in constant flight. The university colors of blue and gold are incorporated in the enameled piece, which is set on top of a walnut pole, Encircling the pole are eight silver spears, representing the eight campuses of Kent State. The mace rests in a walnut stand crafted by Dr. David Dalton of the College of Education, Health and Human Services.
An expert craftsman in enameling, Mr. Jaszczak received his B.S. in art education from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1984. He earned his M.A. in enameling from Kent State in 1994 and an M.F.A. in 1998.
The Presidents Medallion
The President's Medallion symbolizes the responsibility in the Office of the President. Its central motif is the university seal, which retains the sun of the state seal, signifying state ownership and is symbolic of the light of knowledge and wisdom. The shield suggests the geographic shape of Ohio. The bird, which symbolizes leadership, is the chimney swift.