Traditions and Symbols
The Inaugural Ceremony investing Dr. T.J. Arant as the 13th president of Friends University will include many traditions and symbols.
Inauguration of a new president offers Friends University an opportunity to celebrate its heritage and reaffirm the purpose and mission of the University among its many constituents: students, parents, alumni, donors, faculty and staff, and the communities the University serves. The Inaugural Installation Ceremony will officially induct Dr. T.J. Arant as the 13th president of Friends University. Delegates representing other universities will be part of the processional. Delegates are placed in the processional based on the order in which their university was founded.
Clothing worn by academics at inaugurations, commencements and other significant events has a rich history, tradition and symbolism, much of which dates back to England’s university in the Middle Ages. Black gowns are the rule, but a few universities wear other colors. Doctor’s gowns are most readily recognizable by three horizontal velvet bars on each sleeve. Hoods designate the level of the degree, the discipline in which the degree is awarded and the institution which awarded it. Caps are typically a hard-topped mortarboard, but some faculty wear a soft tam. Tassels for faculty members are either black or in the color of the university that awarded the degree; or gold in the case of some doctoral degrees.
Chain of Office
Friends University’s Chain of Office is a necklace made of antique bronze featuring the University Seal and 12 curved banners on the chain – each one containing the name of a former University president and his years of service. Rodney Pitts, chairman of the Friends University Board of Trustees, will bestow the chain on Dr. Arant during the official ceremony. The chain of office is worn by the president at all formal academic occasions and identifies the wearer as the designated leader of the University.
Carried by an honored member of the faculty during the processional and recessional, the mace has its origins in the Middle Ages as a club used in battle and carried by a bodyguard to defend a person of authority. Throughout the years, it has lost its warlike image and become a symbol of peaceful leadership. In the academic environment, the mace is the symbol of the legal and chartered authority of the people to whom the directors have delegated authority (typically the president and vice presidents). Use of the mace is reserved for occasions of outstanding importance, and it is an honor to bear the mace. Friends University’s mace is made of cherry wood with silver trim. The headpiece contains the University Seal imprinted on silver surrounded by silver laurel leaves.