University of California, Riverside


Traditions and Symbols



In 1895, American Universities adopted a code for uniformity in academic dress. These codes, handed down from European academic ceremonies, represent different degree levels, field of study, and the institutions from which the degree was earned. The colors, worn on tassels, hoods, velvet and satin trimmings, include:

  • Arts, Letters, Humanities: white
  • Commerce, Accountancy, Business: drab
  • Economics: copper
  • Education: light blue
  • Engineering: orange
  • Music: pink
  • Philosophy: dark blue
  • Public Administration: peacock blue
  • Medicine: green
  • Science: golden yellow
  • Theology: scarlet
  • Social Work: citron

The Seal of the University of California

The UC Seal The present seal, designed by Tiffany and Company, has been used since 1910. The seal incorporates symbolic icons and phrases that represent the image of the University.

Symbols used include:

  • The open book, which symbolized the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge.
  • The letter "A", representing the beginning of wisdom.
  • The five-pointed star above the book represents the discovery and sharing of knowledge.
  • The University motto, "Fiat Lux", or "Let There be Light", displayed on a scroll, represents the coming of light and knowledge in to the world.

The Chancellor's Medal

The Chancellor's Medal The Chancellor's Medal is worn at ceremonial observances as a part of the chancellor's regalia. At the center is the University of California seal. The back of the medal displays the names of the campus' chancellors and year he or she was inaugurated.

The UC Riverside Mace

The academic mace, first used in the 14th century, is descended from the club of Hercules. The scepter on the mace stands for lawful power and regal authority, and was carried by Zeus, the Greek God of moral law and order.

Most academic maces take the same general shape. At the top is an ornament placed on a bulbous head; ring-shaped enlargements are found on the shaft; and the base is a round, foliated ornament.

The UCR Mace The UC Riverside Mace was first suggested by Ramon J. Rhine, Chair of the Academic Senate, to represent the dignity and history of the campus. Professor Emeritus George Helmkamp designed and constructed the ceremonial mace, with Eugene L. Ethridge of the Chemistry Department contributing metal work.

The mace was first carried on October 6, 1987 at UC's Founder's Day Faculty Procession, by Professor Rhine. His address was as follows:

Today, for the first time, the new mace of the University of California, Riverside is carried in academic procession. The academic mace represents the immortal dignity of the university. At great universities throughout the world, the mace symbolizes internally the authority of the university, and externally the immunity of the university to undue interference.

The UC Riverside mace was hand crafted with inlaid woods, with the head and shaft made out of Hawaiian Koa wood. The light inlaid wood is Yellow Fir from Canada, and the dark inlays are Desert Ironwood collected by Professor Helmkamp throughout Southern California. The mace has ornaments at the top and the base. The base is in the shape of a citrus fruit, representing UCR's Citrus Experiment Station. The top ornament is the bear of the State of California. Seals of California and the University are mounted on opposite sides of the mace's head. Below the seals are the mottos of California and the University, respectively, along with the years 1850 (the year California was admitted in to the Union), and 1868 (the year the University of California was founded).

The UCR Pipe Band


The UCR Pipe Band performs on the campus and in the surrounding community at formal and informal events including parades, memorials, highland games, athletic events, alumni events, Chancellor’s events, and Commencement. The band encompasses a diverse group of musicians and performers offering a wide variety of Celtic music played on bagpipes and drums. Find out more about the UCR Pipe Band.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

UCR LibrariesCampus Status
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Department Information

Office of Event Management & Protocol
1144 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-3144

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