Graduation Symbolism

Ceremonial Mace

Originally a weapon used in medieval warfare by a king or great noble, the mace has become a ceremonial symbol. Use of the mace as an academic device dates back to 16th-century England, when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to the corporation of the University of Oxford. She ordered that it be used in all ceremonies to represent the royal presence and the authority granted to the university to issue degrees under the royal insignia. Since that time colleges and universities have adopted the custom of using a ceremonial mace during graduation exercises.

The Evergreen State College’s mace is a gift from the late Byron Youtz, former academic vice president and provost, who donated the materials, and faculty member emeritus Earle McNeil, who gave his time and talent to create it.

The crown of the mace represents the principles of knowledge and experience. To remind us that such integration is a carefully balanced blend of diverse aspects of human nature, there are four inlaid circles symbolizing major ways of experiencing the world—thinking, feeling, intuiting, and sensing— and four main characteristics of the human mind—wisdom, innocence, introspection, and illumination.

College Medallion

The original college medallion was designed for founding president Charles McCann’s inauguration, which he later donated to Library Archives. The medallion worn by President George Bridges today was designed in 1994 by Joyce Attwood. It is fabricated of silver, copper, brass, gold, and acrylic, featuring a moon-stone from Nepal, paua shell from New Zealand, and turquoise, and is suspended on a chain from Thailand. The medallion design shows an evergreen tree with Mt. Rainier and the sea in the background.

Be Greener Wherever You Go

Scholarship funding provided in part by special Evergreen license plates. The newest design is now available.

Academic Costumes and Regalia

The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. Long gowns and hoods were worn and may have been necessary for warmth in unheated buildings. Today, many institutions choose distinctively colored gowns. The design of the sleeve indicates the level of the degree earned by the wearer. Hoods have both the colors of the institution and a band indicating the academic discipline in which the degree was earned.

Evergreen Masters

Each master’s degree program graduate is wearing a hood edged in a distinctive color: brilliant gold signifies a Master of Environmental Studies; deep turquoise indicates a Master of Public Administration; and pale blue marks a Master in Teaching.

Tacoma Program

Evergreen–Tacoma graduates are wearing stoles made from Kente cloth, a type of woven silk and cotton fabric native to the Ashanti people (Ghana). Kente cloth, worn only in times of extreme importance, is a key symbol of African cultural heritage.

Evening and Weekend Studies (EWS)

Students and faculty wearing black, green, and white stoles accented with a moon and sun represent EWS. They honor the nights and weekends graduates spent earning their degrees while working day jobs and supporting families.

Native Programs

MPA–Tribal Governance and Native Pathways Program graduates are wearing stoles with a peacock-blue Pendleton design that pays homage to button blankets, the standard form of ceremonial regalia for Northwest coastal tribes. Some students are also wearing handmade cedar caps or regalia that are representative of Native cultures. 

Speedy the Geoduck, our College Mascot

Founders of the college wanted a mascot that epitomized the difference between traditional schools and Evergreen’s innovative ideas. It had to be the opposite of typically snarling, fierce, aggressive mascots. 

They chose the geoduck, the world’s largest burrowing clam, which lives on the shorelines of our beautiful Puget Sound. The word geoduck derives from the Lushootseed gwideq, meaning “to dig deep.”

Alma Mater

Omnia Extares, Omnia Extares Alma Mater, Evergreen Omnia Extares

Geoduck Fight Song

Go, Geoducks go,

Through the mud and the sand, let’s go.

Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about,

let it all hang out.

Go, Geoducks go,

Stretch your neck when the tide is low,

Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about,

let it all hang out.