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126th Spring Commencement

Information for Faculty Serving as Marshals

Marshals and Ceremonial Elements

University marshals have a central role in the university's most significant academic occasion, Commencement. Wearing colorful regalia representing institutions that conferred their highest degree, faculty serving as marshals carry one of 47 ornate maces distinctive to The University of Texas at Austin. Maces symbolize academic authority and position. It is traditional for the "Marshal of the University" who oversees the Grand Procession at Commencement, to carry the "Commencement Mace." The university's unique mace collection includes maces crafted of wood from the original Main Building. Some maces relate to academic disciplines. Others honor institutional milestones, such as the Centennial (1983) or the Report of the Commission of 125 (2004).

The Role of University Marshals in Commencement

The marshals’ roles are important in making the Grand Procession run smoothly and in representing the university to graduating students and their guests. They add greatly to the "pomp and circumstance" of the university's most significant academic occasion. Marshals are responsible for leading the procession consisting of three components – graduating students, faculty and members of the platform party – to the site where Commencement will take place. It is a formal prelude to the ceremony. The Grand Procession is marked by celebratory music, ceremonial banners, colorful robes and sashes, and a sense of anticipation and high spirits, all befitting a joyous occasion. Marshals lead procession participants to the symbolic heart of the campus, the University Tower.

Marshals for Degree Candidates
Marshals first guide the procession of degree candidates, grouped by academic college or school, to seating on the Main Mall, below the stage.

Marshals for the Faculty
Degree candidates are followed by marshals directing the procession of faculty from the South Mall where they have served as an honor line for degree candidates, to seating on the upper terrace adjacent to the stage.

Marshals for the Platform Party
Lastly, marshals lead the platform party, including the Commencement speaker, president and other officials, to the stage. Once the platform party is in position on stage, the "Marshal of the University" goes to the lectern to announce to President Powers that the convocation is formed. President Powers presides at the ceremony. As he takes his place at the lectern, the 126th Spring Commencement of The University of Texas at Austin begins.