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Our Traditions

“Traditions are important to us as they remind us of what we value, what we hold dear, and what we build from. We have a long history of traditions at UTB. Our heritage dictates that the traditions set out by our founders continue to serve for the greater good."

Dr. William R. Fannin, President, ad Interim

The Ring: A Symbol of Learning

Components of the UTB ring.

The Ring: A symbol of Learning

Your UTB degree initials

The bell is a symbol rooted in our history and shows the role public higher education must play at the very core of our democratic society.

The university’s initials

Graduation Year
Your UTB graduation year.

The Shining Sun
Part of daily life in the semi-tropical environment of the Rio Grande Valley.

Ocelot, Our Mascot
Sleek, strong and swift, the ocelot is cherished in deep South Texas. While tame and beautiful, the ocelot is a territorial cat and will fight relentlessly to protect its home. We can identify with that.

UTB Date
The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) has been a member of the University of Texas System since 1991 with the establishment of the 72th Texas Legislature. The university continues moving forward with a focus on embracing teaching excellence, active inquiry, lifelong learning, rigorous scholarship and research in service to the common good.

In October 1905, The Board of Regents ordered the University seal devised by Professor William James Battle and recommended by President Houston be adopted by the Board. The motto, Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, is the late Dr. Edwin W. Fay’s terse Latin rendering of the famous quotation from Mirabeau B. Lamar, “Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.”



One of the oldest academic traditions is the wearing of academic regalia. Academic institutions throughout the world have cre­ated a wide variety of customs including distinctive dress, color and ceremony to indicate the accomplishments of scholars. The wearing of regalia dates from the Middle Ages, when the gowns had the practical purpose of keeping scholars warm in cold and drafty buildings. English traditions originating at Oxford and Cambridge led to the development of American academic regalia.Academic Regalia

By the 20th century, institutions of higher learning in the United States had adopted a well-defined code of academic costume, which now includes the identification of different academic degrees by distinctive gowns, hoods and colors.

For instance, the baccalaureate gown is worn closed and is identified by long, pointed sleeves. Doctoral gowns may be worn open, and they are distinguished by velvet panels around the neck and down the front of the gown. Three horizontal black velvet bars, or the color representing the wearer’s degree, also mark the doctorate.

In America, the hood is the most colorful feature of the aca­demic regalia. The bachelor’s hood, when worn, is compara­tively short; the master’s a bit longer; and the doctorate, at four feet, reaches far down the back.

The outside of the hood is black and bordered with a 2-, 3- or 5-inch band of color representing the degree received. At UTB, the hooding is a special occasion because the mas­ter’s or doctoral hood, a symbol of the degree, is formally draped about the neck of the graduate by the dean.

Colors used in the academic rega­lia for master’s degrees are:

White: Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Drab: Master of Business Administration

Light Blue: Master of Education
Gold: Master of Science, Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Orange: Master of Science in Nursing



The mace is an academic tradition that started out as a formidable weapon of warfare but is now a ceremonial staff used as a symbol of authority. Originally, the mace was The mace is a ceremonial staff used as a symbol of authority.a long-handled club weighted at the end, used primarily by knights during the Middle Ages to crush the armor of opponents. Royal bodyguards often carried maces to protect their monarch in processions. By the 14th century, maces had become more ceremonial in use and were decorated with jewels and precious metals, losing their war-club appearance. They were no longer used as weapons after the 16th century.

The ceremonial mace is usually three or four feet long. In the sessions of the British House of Commons, the mace is placed on the treasury table. In the U.S. House of Representatives, it is placed to the right of the speaker. A mace is often carried in ecclesiastical processions, particularly in English-speaking countries, and frequently before magistrates in Great Britain. The mace has become one of the major accessories at commencement ceremonies for colleges and universities.


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