Commitment Header for Inauguration of Earl F. Martin.

Ceremonial Symbols


Academic Regalia

Academic regalia was initially worn in the Middle Ages to keep warm, later transforming into a symbol of privilege. Modern academic regalia includes the gown, cap and tassel, and the hood. Color and design denote the discipline of the degree and the institution that granted the degree.

Drake’s entire platform party will appear in academic regalia alongside President Martin, who will wear a newly designed presidential robe—black (neutral of discipline) with blue velvet panels and sleeves with four blue velvet bars representing status as president (three bars signify a doctoral degree). President Martin will retain his existing purple hood (representing his discipline in law) from his University of Kentucky regalia.



Drake’s ceremonial mace was created in 1983 by Professor of Art Condon Kuhl, debuted in that year’s commencement ceremony, and was carried during investiture for the first time as Michael Ferrari was installed as the University’s 10th president. Crafted out of polished ebony and silver, it measures two and one-half feet in length and weighs five pounds. 

When placed on the rostrum, the mace signifies authorized and endorsed proceedings. At Drake, the Marshal of the University carries the ceremonial mace at commencement, convocation, and inauguration.   


Medallion & Chain

Crafted entirely by hand, the presidential medallion was completed just in time for the inauguration of Drake’s eighth president, Paul Frederick Sharp, on Oct. 28, 1966. Then-Assistant Professor Kuhl gave an organic shape to silver, framing an 18-carat yellow gold replication of the official University seal—its oil lamp and book representing the foundational symbols of faith and academia, and the Latin word “veritas” underscoring the pursuit of “truth.” The medallion, presented to the new president at installation, originally hung on a blue and white ribbon sewn by Kuhl’s wife.

In 1972 the ribbon was replaced with a hefty silver and gold chain, yet another ceremonial element crafted by Professor Kuhl. The oblong links are engraved with the names and tenures of Drake’s past presidents.