University of South Carolina commencement traditions have come and gone over the years — with the tradition of commencement on the Horseshoe ending in 1969 upon the opening of the Coliseum, then relocating to the new Colonial Life Arena in 2003. However, one of the university’s most prestigious traditions leading up to graduation is still held each fall and spring on the historic Horseshoe. Introduced in 1999, the Ring Ceremony is a rite of passage where the president of the university presents each student their ring, representing a student’s eternal affiliation with USC.
The university’s first commencement at Rutledge Chapel included an early tradition no longer in practice: requiring the valedictorian and salutatorian to give a commencement address in Latin. Emblematic traditions that remain include the University Mace and President’s Medallion, with the addition of the ceremonial presentation of gonfalons at the May 2012 commencement exercises. The tradition of a university president shaking the hand of every graduate has become rare. Not so at the University of South Carolina. The university president greets and shakes hands with every Carolina graduate, alongside the dean of each college or school.
In recent years new traditions have emerged. It has become increasingly popular to decorate graduation caps. So much so that we’ve already spotted one on Instagram. And this year, for the first time ever at USC, International students can wear graduation sashes representing their countries at commencement.
Have you decorated your cap for graduation? Tweet #UofSC12 and we might feature it here.
Be the first to answer this week’s trivia question correctly in the comments to receive a No Limits t-shirt. One tradition surrounding commencement is a surprise that not every graduating class gets to see, involving USC’s beloved mascot, Cocky. How do you know if Cocky is in your graduating class?