University Registrar's Office

History of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was established by legislative enactment on February 18, 1891 and opened its doors on October 5, 1892.

The institution came into being as a direct result of the efforts of Dr. Charles Duncan McIver on behalf of the education of women. To Dr. McIver, more than any other individual, the University owes its foundation. He became its first president a nd served until his death in 1906.

Since its founding, the institution's name has been changed several times: 1891-1919 State Normal and Industrial College; 1919-1932 North Carolina College for Women; 1932-1963 The Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. In the 1963 General Assembly the name was changed to The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and by the same Act the institution became co-educational. In the fall of 1964 the first class of male students was admitted. In 1972 the General Assembly in special session merged all State supported institutions of Higher Education into The University of North Carolina without changing the names of each campus. Thus, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is now a member of the 16-campus University.

From a student body of 223 and a faculty of 15 in 1892, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has grown to a student body of approximately 13,000, including some 2,600 graduate students, and a faculty of approximately 600.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro includes the following academic units: the College of Arts and Sciences; the Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics; School of Education; School of Health and Human Performance; School of Human Environmental Sciences; School of Music; and School of Nursing. The University offers six different bachelor's degrees in over 100 fields of study, a number of masters degrees in a wide variety of concentrations, and three doctoral degrees in 13 concentrations.

The Commencement Ceremony

The Processional

The order of the procession is fixed by custom with the position of greatest honor being at the end of the line. The procession is led by the Faculty Marshal bearing the Mace. Degree candidates enter next, both undergraduate and graduate, with student marshals leading the columns. The faculty follow the degree candidates. Following the faculty are the representatives of the Trustees, General Administration, Speaker, deans, guests, and Chancellor.

The Mace

The Mace is a ceremonial insignia of the University in a tradition which dates back to antiquity. Hand-chased in sterling silver, it bears academic motifs depicting the history of the institution and is carried by the Faculty Marshal on official occasions. The Mace of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was presented by the Class of 1926 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its graduation and the Bicentennial of the Nation. It was first carried at Commencement in 1978.

The Chain-of-Office

The Chain-of-Office is worn by the Chancellor of the University on occasions when the Mace is carried. The ceremonial medallion, hand-chased in sterling silver, bears the seal of the University, and indicates that the Chancellor is the temporary embodiment of the authority vested in the institution. The Chain-of-Office of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was presented by the Class of 1929 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its graduation and was worn by the Chancellor for the first time at the 1979 Commencement.

The Class of 1940 chose to complete the original design of the Chain-of-Office on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of its graduation. Each link of the sterling silver neck chain is an individually cast laurel leaf. The medallion clasp, also in sterling silver, bears the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina. The completed Chain-of-Office was worn by the Chancellor for the first time at the 1990 Commencement.

The University Flag

The University Flag made its debut on campus in the academic processional for Patricia A. Sullivan's installation as Chancellor of the University on October 2, 1995. The flag bears the traditional colors of gold and white, which were first used in the commencement ceremony of 1894, as well as navy, which was added as the third color in 1987. The University Seal, depicting the likeness of Minerva, appears on both sides of the flag. The UNCG Board of Trustees approved the design as the official flag of the institution on September 7, 1995.

Carrying the University Flag today is Assistant Chief Marshal James R. Sealey.

The Academic Banners

The Academic Banners represent the constituent parts of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro: the College of Arts and Sciences, and the six professional schools. The designs are unique to this University; the colors have historical association with the respective academic disciplines. The banners are a memorial to Marguerite Norman Felton, teacher of Chemistry at the University from 1956 to 1979.

The Banner Bearers

  • The Graduate School, Clint F. Taylor
  • The College of Arts and Sciences, Ryan M. Kelly
  • The Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics, Angela F. Stout
  • The School of Education, Tory H. Sanders
  • The School of Health and Human Performance, Katherine A. Apperson
  • The School of Human Environmental Sciences, Mary E. Evans
  • The School of Music, Jennifer L. Hance
  • The School of Nursing, Ramesh C. Upadhyaya

Academic Regalia

Academic costumes seem to have originated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge about 650 years ago; and to this date, the most colorful gowns in the world are those worn at Oxford functions. Williams College in the United States used the academic regalia first in 1883. In 1932, a revised Intercollegiate Code on Academic Regalia was presented by a committee appointed by the American Council on Education and only a few minor changes have been made since that date.

The Bachelor's gown is worn closed and is distinguished by its long, pointed sleeves. The Master's gown has a long sleeve, oblong in shape with an arc cut out at the bottom, and the forearm protrudes through the slit at the elbow. The Doctor's gown is designed to be worn open but has a velvet panel draped around the neck and extending down the front. Three horizontal bars are stitched on the upper region of the bell shaped sleeves. The velvet trimming may be black or the color distinctive to the discipline to which the degree refers.

In the United States, the hood is the most noticeable feature of the regalia. Its size and shape marks the degree of the wearer. The hood initially had three functions: as a covering for the head, as a cape, or when hanging from the shoulder, as a bag in which alms were collected. Hoods for American usage were lined with colored silk. The colors of the linings are indicative of the degree-granting institution, and the velvet trim indicates the degree awarded. The colors of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro are gold, white, and blue, with gold and white being used in the hood. The outside of the hood is black and bordered with velvet or velveteen to indicate the discipline. The degree and not the department in which the major work was done governs the proper color of the border.

The shape of the Master's hoods is similar, differing largely in length, the Master's hood being slightly longer (6"). The Doctoral hood has a rounded base and is four feet in length. The borders of the Masters' and Doctors' hoods are three and five inches respectively.

Each of the colors used in the hood borders has historical association. Below is a list of the department or discipline colors:

Department/Discipline

Color

Agriculture

Maize

Arts, Letters, Humanities

White

Business Administration,
Commercial Science

Drab

Dentistry

Lilac

Economics

Copper

Education, Pedagogy

Light Blue

Engineering

Orange

Fine Arts, Architecture

Brown

Forestry

Russet

Home Economics

Maroon

Journalism

Dark Crimson

Laws

Purple

Library Science

Lemon

Medicine

Green

Music

Pink

Nursing

Apricot

Oratory

Silver Gray

Pharmacy

Olive

Philanthropy

Rose

Philosophy

Blue

Public Administration

Peacock Blue

Public Health

Salmon

Physical Education

Sage Green

Science

Golden Yellow

Social Service

Citron

Surgical Chiropody

Nile Green

Theology and Divinity

Scarlet

Veterinary Science

Gray

 


The cap is worn both indoors and out when gowns are used. The tassel is worn on the right until the degree is conferred. It is then moved to the left front quarter and may be of color indicating the major field when worn by the undergraduate. The black or gold tassel is appropriate for the doctorate and black for the masters.

The History of the University Bell

Following the benediction, the University Bell will ring in honor of the Graduates. The University Bell sounded the opening of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) on October 5, 1892. For forty years until electric bells were installed it marked the significant moments of the day. The University Bell hung from a belfry in the Anniversary Plaza from 1967 until 1987 when it was removed for the purpose of restoration. The Class of 1940, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its graduation, commissioned the restoration of the University Bell.

University Marshals

Escorts for all lines of march during Commencement and ushers at entries to the Coliseum are provided by the University Marshals, an academic honorary organization composed of full-time upperclassmen with academic averages of 3.65 or greater. These students may be recognized by the gold sashes which they wear during the ceremonies.

University Ambassadors

The University Ambassadors, founded in 1990, is a student organization dedicated to serving the needs of the University as campus tour guides, student orientation assistants, and student recruitment volunteers. They offer support for various alumni activities and serve as hosts for numerous University events such as Commencement.

International Flags

The international flags on display in the reception hall represent over sixty countries from which students have come to UNCG and to which our students have traveled for study abroad. Use of the international flags at Commencement begins today with the December 1999 ceremony.