Beginning with the Spring 2001 Commencement at the University of South Alabama, the platform party and students will proceed to their respective places behind gonfalons. Gonfalons are the flags or banners, hung from crosspieces on poles, used since medieval times in the republics of Italy as symbols of state or office.
Universities and colleges around the world have adopted gonfalons to increase the ceremonial nature of commencement exercises. The top portion of each college's gonfalon is the designated color for each unit; white is the background color for each of the college's symbols, as well as one of the University's colors.
The gonfalons are used during graduation ceremonies to symbolize the different academic areas within the University. Please note that the gonfalons are not "logos" for the individial colleges and schools and should not replace the USA logo in school/college letterhead, publications or other related uses.
To help identify each college gonfalon, a description of each follows:
The University of South Alabama's colors of red, white, and blue predominate with the University's official seal in the center, white section.
This symbol depicts the many health care professions that make up the health care team. The supporting hands and the red center represent the caring nature and the heart of the various professions represented in the College of Allied Health professions.
Arts and Sciences
The globe in the College of Arts and Sciences' gonfalon symbolizes study of human societies, cultures, and behaviors. The microscope represents the scientific study of nature. The paintbrush, palette, and the lyre connote artistic performance and appreciation of the arts, and the book is symbolic of a life informed by learning.
The Mitchell College of Business uses the symbol of a club which is associated with money, wealth, work and luck. The color purple symbolizes the rank of authority. The gold lozenges represent the flow of order.
School of Computing
The design of the School of Computing is made up of two symbols appropriate to the School: the Flame of Knowledge and the Globe. The Flame of Knowledge is derived from three distinct disciplines: Science represented by the Blue, Engineering represented by the Orange, and Business represented by the tan. The Globe symbolizes both the wide reaching effect of the discipline and the diversity of the school's population.
The gonfalon for the School of Continuing Education and Special Programs has three elements: a reaching hand, a star and a circle of blue. The hand reaching for a star superimposed on the circle of blue symbolizes the continuing quest for enlightenment.
The flourishing flame blazoned with red and light blue signifies the burning zeal of the three missions of education -- teaching, research and service. The hands hold the spiritual, social and intellectual flame of education.
The earth is the ground stability, a foundation for life and for the structure of man and nature. The College of Engineering invites discovery and investigation into the realm of ever-changing worldwide technologies. The bridge is a symbol of engineering design. It is the essence of learning, the container of intellect and the spirit of wisdom that creates destinies.
The caduceus is a wing-topped staff interwound by two snakes and was carried by Hermes, Greek messenger of the Gods. In early cultures the intertwined snakes symbolizes healing. The caduceus has been a symbol of medicine since the 16th century.
Three blue stars blazoned with gold symbolize caring, innovation, and empowerment. The two shafts of wheat represent nourishment and strength, while the globe illustrates the universal presence of nursing. The burning lamp of Florence Nightingale and the red cross signify the history and origins of nursing.
The Graduate School
The columns are indicative of the pursuit of advanced knowledge built on the strong foundation of earlier educational attainments. The earth represents the wide range of studies pursued in graduate studies and their broad applications for the betterment of the world. The oak spray represents strength and endurance in pursuit of goals.(Click images for larger image)
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