A tradition of excellence


Convocation & Hooding Ceremony

The University of Saint Mary is one of the few universities in the country that continues the time-honored tradition of hooding undergraduates. The tradition dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when most European universities were members of clergy.

Gowns evolved into the modern gown and hoods worn during Commencement. At the University of Saint Mary, each graduating senior receives a hood. Each graduate is "hooded" denoting the graduate's specific academic discipline. Most universities only "hood" graduate students.

Pinning of Nurses 

One day before officially become graduated nurses, University of Saint Mary nursing students are presented with a final badge of honor – the symbolic nursing pin. Pinning of nurses dates back to the 12th century, and became commonplace in the U.S. in the early 1900s. 

Each university's pin is unique. At USM, the golden pin is engraved with the university's Spire, reminding nurses of USM's core values: community, respect, justice, and excellence. Pins also include the lamp of knowledge – a symbol of the nursing profession dating back to Florence Nightingale.

At the ceremony, one student is presented with the Sister Mary Erwin Baker Award for Caring Behaviors, presented to a graduating senior who exemplifies the "five Cs of caring:" compassion, competence, confidence, conscience, and commitment.

During the pinning ceremony, nurses complete their international pledge to care for the sick and promote health, knowledge, and integrity at all times.

Graduation regalia 

The University of Saint Mary honors traditional graduation regalia. Gowns at USM are black with tassels and hoods that are colored to represent degrees earned. The length, width, color of trim and the colors of the lining of academic hoods denote the wearer's highest academic achievement.

The velvet trim reveals the degree field (arts: white; science: golden yellow; music: pink; business administration: drab; education: light blue; philosophy: dark blue; technology: scarlet; nursing: apricot).