Graduation cords explained

For students graduating, one of the personal ways to represent one’s self beyond a cap and gown is through the cords adorning the neck. Representing achievements in a multitude of ways, the cords stem from a tradition in the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish status among clergy. This became part of the graduation ceremony to distinguish different honors and achievements among graduates. Today, however, it can be hard to know the differences between the cords and the variety of colors and styles they come in, especially between different schools.

In the University of Alaska system, the graduation cords are not universal. Graduation cords go through an approval process before they are added to the existing list.

Bridgett Dyson, special events manager for University Advancement, said the process a cord request must go through before it sees the graduate.

“The requests now must be reviewed by the Commencement Committee and forwarded to the Chancellor’s Cabinet for final approval,” Dyson said.

The process for approving cords and compiling an official list of their meanings is a rather new endeavor.

“Until recently, there was not a formal process for the approval of cords/sashes,” Dyson said.

The University of Alaska Anchorage has no official list of approved cords and sashes. UAA assistant registrar Lindsey Chadwell confirmed the lack of an official list.

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“To my knowledge, the university doesn’t have a complete list of all cords students might wear during commencement,” she said.

Chadwell pointed toward University Advancement for the start of this developing list of approved Commencement cords.

Bridgett Dyson and University Advancement were able to provide The Northern Light an in-progress list of official cords and their corresponding colors.

Alpha Delta Nu (Nursing) – Gold Cords

Beta Gamma Sigma (Business school, Honor society) – Blue and Gold Cords

Engineering honors – Braided Green and Gold Cords

Humanities honors – White Cords

Kappa Delta Pi (Education) – Blue and Purple Cords

Leadership Honors – Red Cords

Legal Studies pro bono services honors – Purple Cords

Medical Lab Science – Green and Gold Cords

Music – Pink Cords

National Criminal Justice Honor Society – Gold Cords

Phi Alpha Theta (History) – Red Cords

Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing) – Purple and White Cords

University honors – Gold Cord

Veterans – Red, White, and Blue Cords

CBPP Leadership Fellows – Green, Gold, and Purple Cord

University Advancement is in the process of expanding this list to make it comprehensively include all cords that have been approved through the Chancellor. For more information regarding cords, contact UAA Advancement at 907-786-4847.