Any ornamentation (including pins, cords, ribbons, scarves, stoles, sashes, medallions, etc.) representing honorary societies, nationalities, fraternities, sororities, etc., is not permitted. Exceptions include students in the Penn State Berks Honors Program, the Schreyer Honors College, and national honor society members, as listed below.
Penn State Academic Honor Cords
Undergraduate students graduating Summa Cum Laude will receive a blue and white cord; those graduating Magna Cum Laude will receive a blue cord; and those graduating Cum Laude will receive a white cord. Students will receive email notification from the Registrar’s Office on how to receive their honor cords. The levels were determined by a student’s cumulative GPA at the end of the previous semester. If students earn a higher level once final grades are received, they can contact the Registrar to retroactively receive the appropriate honor cord. Please note that graduate students do not earn honors. In American higher education, Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude are unique to undergraduate education.
Military Honor Cords
Undergraduate and graduate students who have honorably served, are serving, or are commissioned to serve in the U.S. military will be awarded an honor cord to wear at their commencement ceremony in recognition of their duty and sacrifice. The red, white, and blue cords will be given to eligible graduating students, including associate degree recipients, in the following groups: active duty, reserve, and National Guard service members; veterans; and graduates receiving a commission through Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and official U.S. Armed Forces recruiting programs.