Commencement 2005 - Sunday, May 15

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[ Tickets | Campus Facilities Hours | Directions | Visitor info | Disability info | Photos | Traditions ]

Carlson Center seating mapTickets

Tickets are not required for the commencement ceremony nor is there a charge to attend. A view of the graduates and the stage is excellent throughout the arena, but guests may wish to arrive early if they desire a particular seating area. The Carlson Center opens to guests at noon on Sunday, May 15.

See an enlarged map of the commencement setup at the Carlson Center to become familiar with the seating arrangement and location of key facilities. You may wish to print the map and bring it with you to the center.




Campus facilities hours during commencement weekend
Rasmuson Library
Friday, May 13 8 a.m.--6 p.m.
Saturday, May 14 CLOSED
Sunday, May 15 CLOSED
UA Museum of the North
Friday, May 13 9 a.m.--5 p.m.
Saturday, May 14 noon--5 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 9 a.m.--7 p.m.
Bookstore, Constitution Hall
Friday, May 13 7:45 a.m.--6 p.m.
Saturday, May 14 noon--5 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 CLOSED
Wood Center
Friday, May 13 7 a.m.--8 p.m.
Saturday, May 14 7 a.m.--5:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 15 9 a.m.--5:30 p.m.



Commencement will be held at the Carlson Center, 2010 Second Avenue, Fairbanks. See the following links for more details.

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Visitor Information

For local accommodations and a listing of visitor services in the Fairbanks area, contact the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau at (907) 456-5774, (800) 327-5774 or visit them on the web:

For a listing of local attractions, visit the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce online:

Disability Information

The University of Alaska Fairbanks strives to make its commencement ceremonies comfortable and accessible for all graduates and their guests regardless of physical needs.

Students or guests with special access needs, including an elevator, may park at the front of the Carlson Center.

If a graduating student or a member of the audience requires special seating, a large print program, an enhanced audio unit or other assistance at the commencement ceremony, please contact Mary Matthews, Disability Services, at (907) 474-6158 or A sign interpreter will be seated onstage; inquire at a Carlson Center information table as to seating for best visibility.


Photography were provided by Farrar Photography. Shortly after commencement, information about packages featuring a candid photo of each graduate receiving a diploma as well as a formal portrait will be sent to each student at the address provided to the Graduation Office. For more information, contact Bill Zervantian at (907) 561-7611 or

University Relations' photographers also cover the event and selected images will be posted on this site in the commencement photo gallery. Contact for more information about any of these images.

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For centuries, pomp and circumstance have added color and dignity to the recognition of scholastic achievement. Modern academic dress evolved from caps and gowns worn in medieval universities, which were agencies of the church. High leaders of the church customarily wore distinctive garments, a practice that was followed by bishops and their vice-chancellors as they became heads of universities. Academic gowns distinguished university personnel from townspeople who also wore gowns for daily dress during that time period. The costumes of doctors and lesser clerics were not as elaborate as those prescribed for officials, but they were distinctive nonetheless. Through the centuries, the traditional pageantry has not changed much. In ancient times, each individual scholar wore special colors, fur and fabrics, as did his students. Since the traditions began, however, official standards have been documented that allow the observer to identify more about the scholar.

Three types of black gowns may be distinguished in UAF's academic procession. Certificate, associate and baccalaureate gowns have long, pointed sleeves. Master's gowns have oblong sleeves with an arc cut away in the front. Doctoral gowns are faced with velvet and have bell-shaped sleeves with three bars of velvet.

UAF's doctoral degree candidates will receive hoods at the commencement ceremony, signifying they have achieved the highest level of academic achievement.

Both master's degree and doctoral candidates wear hoods. UAF's colors are blue and gold, and these colors line the inside of each hood. The velvet trim signifies the scholar's field of study: master of arts, white; master of business administration, drab; master of education, light blue; master of engineering, orange; master of fine arts, brown; master of science, yellow; and doctor of philosophy, dark blue.

The square Oxford cap, or mortarboard, is black and has a long tassel fastened to the middle of the top. Some colleges and universities use the soft beret, but the prevailing style of cap is the traditional mortarboard. You may notice the University of Alaska Regents and some of the faculty members wearing soft beret-style caps during commencement. For undergraduates receiving their first degree the tassel is customarily worn on the right side and shifted to the left after receiving the diploma. At many institutions, colored tassels are worn to indicate the candidate's school or college. At UAF, the black tassel is worn on the cap for all certificate, associate, baccalaureate and master's degrees, and gold tassels are worn for all doctoral degrees.

While you may not be able to identify the origins of each specific academic robe and hood appearing in the commencement ceremony, you can reflect that from the certificate recipient in a simple black gown to the Doctor of Philosophy in a velvet trimmed robe and colorful hood, students and professors alike are paying homage to more than 700 years of academic tradition.

An academic legend tells of a wise old Greek who dressed his students in mason's sackcloth robes and mortarboards because "Their destiny is to build. Some will build cities; some will build lives – perhaps one of them will build an empire; but all will be builders on the solid foundation of knowledge."

Chancellor's Medallion
During the Middle Ages, medallions signified membership in religious orders and workers' guilds and, in the Renaissance, membership in elite orders of knighthood and prominence in government office. Today, colleges and universities strike medallions to commemorate important events and achievements or to designate a person of consequence. The UAF Chancellor's Medallion signifies the authority vested in the Chancellor.

Fabricated in bronze by Judie Gumm of Ester, Alaska, in 1991, the Chancellor's Medallion depicts the University of Alaska seal featuring Mount McKinley, with the addition of a cluster of forget-me-nots—the state flower—at the bottom and a ribbon of aurora borealis across the sky. The medallion is held by a beaded neckpiece in a forget-me-not pattern made by Selina Alexander in the Koyukon/Athabascan style. The central cord is made of tanned moosehide, covered with beads sewn together one by one and then sewn to the cord. The medallion was commissioned by Chancellor Patrick J. O'Rourke in his last year of office to reflect the Alaska roots and cultural diversity of the University's students.

University Mace
Bodyguards of French and English monarchs carried ceremonial war clubs or maces in the Middle Ages. Later, the mace became an important symbol of office in civil processions and academic pageantry. The Grand Marshal carries the University of Alaska Mace in the commencement procession and places it in a stand on the stage during commencement ceremonies to signify the importance of the occasion.

The mace was commissioned by the University of Alaska Alumni Association in honor of the University's 1967 Golden Anniversary and was created by UAF Professor Ron Senungetuk using silver, jade and rosewood. At the top of the mace, a disk in the center of two open orbs depicts the University of Alaska seal on one side and the Alaska State seal on the other. The materials were selected to symbolize qualities of durability, strength and beauty.

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Last modified June 22, 2011 by University Relations Web Developer.