Source: University Archives
Staff Person: L. K. Gypsye Legge
As the days lengthen and become even warmer, activity on campus reaches an annual peak. Faculty and students prepare for examinations and make final arrangements for summer plans such as studies abroad, internships or AFROTC Field Training. But the ultimate moment of spring on campus is commencement. To stand before friends, family or others and be given due honor for academic achievement is a crowning moment of matriculation. The picture above appears to be from before the ceremony in 1993, as all tassels are on the right side of the mortarboard. As you can see, even an important occasion has elements of fun for Pirates!
There have been some notable changes to the ritual and surrounding events during the first century of East Carolina graduations. Photographs in the University Archives of early commencements show female graduates attired in white dresses, and two years ago the University adopted purple regalia for graduation, which makes for some very colorful images. An image of the 1932 graduation (bottom left, ECU:06: A:.1: pa149) stills shows white dresses, while a photograph from 1936 of First in the Family Oral History Collection contributor Mary Boyd Mann has her wearing a cap and gown (bottom right, Image accessed via http://media.lib.ecu.edu/firstgeneration/gallery1.cfm):
No matter if commencement ceremonies were held on a temporary stage in a wooded area (bottom left, ECU: 06:A:.1: p926), a dusty football field (bottom right, ECU:06:A:.1: pa362)
or in the air-conditioned coliseum of more recent years, the pomp and circumstance and even the lighthearted displays all serve to honor those who have made the effort to be able to go forth and live ECU’s motto: “SERVIRE”.
Click on the images to see an enlarged version.