Graduation cords are rope-like accessories that drape around the graduate’s neck so the two tassels hang down the gown. There are a variety of graduation cord colors, which have been codified by the Association of College Honor Societies. Some institutions also develop their own color-specific traditions with graduation honor cords as well. In this guide, we share details about all the major graduation cord colors, including their associated degrees, honors, and clubs.
This is one of the most popular colors for graduation cords because it contrasts so well with a black gown. It also signifies a variety of honors. For example, the Spanish National Honor Society, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, and Beta Club use gold cords. It’s a universally recognized color for any academic discipline. Gold symbolizes prosperity, love, compassion, and wisdom.
Next, silver graduation cords identify graduates with oratory, veterinary science, and other medical science degrees. Sometimes, it’s used in agriculture, business management, and physics departments as well. The color silver symbolizes elegance, kindness, hope, and sensitivity.
This striking shade of blue identifies virtually any discipline. However, you most often see it in leadership, community service, and other social sciences. Phi Kappa Pi, Alpha Kappa Mu, ASGA, Distributive Education Clubs of America, and FFA also use royal blue cords. The color symbolizes superiority, trustworthiness, and sophistication.
Another graduation cord color is navy blue. This classic blue cord looks incredible with a black cap and gown. Most importantly, it often showcases Philosophy graduates. When paired with a silver cord, it’s used by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Furthermore, the British Navy has been using the color since 1748. Many navies around the world have adopted it since. Navy blue symbolizes intelligence, loyalty, and wisdom.
This soft blue shade designates graduates in Education. Eagle Scout graduates also wear sky blue cords to their commencement ceremony. Many fraternities and sororities incorporate sky blue as well, including Phi Beta Kappa and Gamma Phi Delta. The color symbolizes honesty and intelligence.
Red graduation honor cords showcase degrees in journalism, music, public health, conservation, and many other disciplines. Additionally, the deep cardinal red signifies membership to societies. These include the Spanish National Honors Society, ASGA, Gamma Sigma Alpha, and Alpha Beta Kappa. Red cords are a symbol of courage, willpower, and strength.
Many honors societies use purple, including the Science National Honor Society, HOSA, and Kappa Delta Pi. Also, this royal shade is designated as the official color for dental and law students. Another use for the color is for urban planning and architecture graduates. The color purple symbolizes ambition, creativity, and devotion.
Medicine graduates often wear emerald green, as well as students who have been recognized for their community service. In addition, many Greek organizations have included emerald green in their cord color schemes. For example, Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Lambda Alpha, and Phi Sigma use emerald green. The color symbolizes growth, renewal, and wellbeing.
Typically, maroon graduation honor cords showcase forestry and theology degree recipients. Also, they designate membership in honors societies like Alpha Sigma Lambda, Delta Epsilon Sigma, and Omega Chi Epsilon. Furthermore, many universities use maroon in their official colors, including University of Chicago, Boston College, and Texas A&M. The color can symbolize confidence, passion, and power.
Engineering graduates often wear orange cords during commencement, as well as Tau Beta Pi members. Orange symbolizes individuality and the creative spirit. Many homeschooling programs rely on bright orange cords for graduates as well.
Often worn by public administration and performing arts graduates, this distinct shade makes an indelible impression on graduation day. Also, you’ll also find sororities like Zeta Tau Alpha and Alpha Kappa Delta wearing turquoise cords to commencement. The color turquoise represents energy, serenity, and balance.
Depending on your institution, the graduation cords meaning changes to reflect established traditions and symbolism. For example, forest green sometimes showcases Medicine graduates, and other times silver cords are worn instead. Also, forest green is a popular shade in the Biology and General Sciences departments. The color symbolizes hope, growth, and rebirth.
This formal and clean shade often honors graduates in the Humanities and Arts. The Music Honor Society, French National Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Mu, and Sigma Theta Tau also wear white cords. White symbolizes purity, spirituality, and possibility.
Lastly, business administration, accounting, and business education graduates wear the classic black graduation cord. Black is the absence of color, and it symbolizes power, authority, and prestige.
At GraduationSource, we carry graduation honors cords that represent every student under the sun, from honors recipients to Eagle Scouts. Visit our blog to learn more about graduation history and traditions.