Commencement Adornment Policy

Commencement Attire Policy

There is no greater expression of community at Appalachian State University than our commencement ceremony. Guidelines for appropriate attire at Commencement have been established by the Commencement Committee in order to preserve the dignity and importance of the occasion and to show respect for the University, its graduates, and their families. On this day, we are one, and our attire reflects this. Formal academic regalia consisting of black academic gowns and mortarboards are the dress of the day. Students may choose what attire they wish to wear underneath their regalia, but clothing is mandatory, as are shoes. Bare feet will not be permitted in the arena, as this is not hygienic. With the exception of decorated caps (which are permitted) non-permitted accoutrements that draw attention to an individual and detract from the occasion, can compromise the image we seek to project as a university, and are not acceptable. The following outlines the attire that are acceptable to be worn as part of the academic regalia at commencement.

Graduation Honor Cords

All honor cords are to be distributed and received prior to the Commencement Ceremony. No honor cords will be available on the day of Commencement, with the exception of Latin Honors. Candidates for Latin, University, College or Departmental honors will be recognized during the ceremony. To be eligible for graduation with honors, an undergraduate student must complete, in residence at Appalachian, a minimum of 48 semester hours. (Note: Credit for which a grade is not awarded will not be used in the determination of honors—e.g., AP, CLEP, credit by examination, credit for military service, credit for prior learning, etc.) A minimum grade-point average of 3.45 is required for graduating cum laude; a minimum grade-point average of 3.65 is required for graduating magna cum laude; and a minimum grade-point average of 3.85 is required for graduating summa cum laude.
The GPA used to recognize candidates for Latin honors (during the ceremony) is the cumulative GPA earned through the immediately preceding (not the current) semester.

Graduating Seniors: Academic and non-academic regalia may be worn in accordance with guidelines set forth in Appalachian's Commencement Policy (see below). If you are a member of multiple organizations, the choice of which attire you choose to wear is up to you (within the approved policy guidelines). In keeping with the honor and tradition pertaining to Commencement, you should exercise good taste and judgment in making these decisions. Students should only wear approved regalia to which they are entitled based on their official affiliations and qualifications.

Cords and Stoles

The Commencement Committee of Appalachian State University supports the wearing of stoles and honor cords at commencement ceremonies by students representing recognized academic honors, honors programs, and honor societies; students with an international affiliation; members of ASU recognized Greek letter societies; ASU affiliated student athletes; military and veteran students; and students with service recognized by both the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership.


• Gold cords are reserved for candidates graduating with Latin honors (as assessed by the University Registrar's Office). No other group may use a gold cord as their adornment of choice.
• Red, white and blue cords are reserved for candidates who serve or have served in our military armed forces. No other group may use a red, white and blue cord as their adornment of choice.
• Other cord colors are permissible with approval of the registrar for other ASU recognized honor programs and societies.
• Sashes and stoles are designated for members of ASU recognized international student organizations, athletes, service and service/academic organizations, and Greek letter organizations
o Sashes/stoles may not be wider than 5". The length of stole is optional.
o Sashes/stoles imprinted with the organization's name, initials, and achievements may not display any derogatory or offensive language, nor should they draw undue attention to an individual person or group that would detract from the occasion.

If your organization or planned use of an accessory falls outside of the guidelines above, contact your organization's advisor or sponsor who will reach out to the Registrar's Office for consideration. Organizations who fail to follow the established attire policy will jeopardize the organization's future ability to be represented with adornments in future ceremonies.