Academic dress is required of all graduates participating in Commencement. 

Academic regalia is not required for December Recognition. 

Please visit Reggie’s Corner (Lower Level of Burpee) as soon as possible to purchase your regalia for Commencement. Please purchase your regalia before April 15 to ensure you have all of your regalia on time. If something needs to be ordered, we don’t want your order to arrive too late!

Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree wear a gown, mortar (cap), and tassel.

Students graduating with a master’s degree wear a gown, academic hood reflecting area of study, mortar, and tassel.

  • Appropriate attire to be worn under the gown consists of dress slacks with a shirt and tie for men and a dress, skirt, pants, or suit for women.
  • Students may wear stoles that reference their cultural identity or that reference membership to a recognized affinity group on campus.  Stoles will not be provided by the University nor will they be referenced in the commencement program.

Tassel colors

Bachelor of Arts – White
Bachelor of Fine Arts – Brown
Bachelor of Science – Gold
Bachelor of Science in Management Studies – Gold
Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Apricot

Hood/tassel colors

Masters of Arts in Teaching – Blue
Master of Business Administration – Ecru                                                                                                                       
Master of Education – Blue

Undergraduate students showing high scholastic achievement are granted a degree with honors at Commencement. Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude honors, and MacLeish Scholar honors are awarded. Honors for Commencement Day are based on final grades through Fall 2023. The specific criteria for honors are outlined in the Academic Policies and Regulations section of the online Academic Catalog.

A link to the list of students receiving honors can be found in the portal. Students graduating with honors will be given a gold cord when they check in on the day of Commencement to wear during the ceremony.

Honors are not awarded to graduate students. All graduate students are required to maintain honors- level GPAs throughout their academic programs. Graduate students are not allowed to wear honor cords during Commencement.

Cords for Academic Honors and National Honors Societies (see Honors page for eligibility information):

Honors – gold cord
Phi Beta Kappa (national academic honor society), baby blue and pink ribbons
Phi Alpha Theta (history), red and light blue cord
Psi Chi (psychology), gold cord with gold and blue tassels at each end
Sigma Beta Delta (business administration), forest green and gold cord
Sigma Theta Tau International (nursing), orchid and white cord

Military Recognition Cords (see Honors page for eligibility information):

Rockford University is proud to recognize its graduating veterans and military members with a red, white, and blue regalia cord. The cord colors replicate those of our nation’s flag to denote the valor, excellence, and sacrifices these individuals have exemplified in their service to the United States Armed Forces.

Questions regarding academic honors can be directed to