Traditions

Learn about our procession, mace and academic dress

The University of New Brunswick is one of the only institutions in North America to call its spring graduation ceremonies "encaenia."

Derived from the Greek word encœnia, meaning festival of the founders, the first celebration was held in Fredericton on June 24, 1830, at what was then known as King's College (later UNB).

Instituted by Oxford graduate Edwin Jacob, the first and only head of King's College in Fredericton, encaenia was not initially a graduation ceremony. Over the years, however, the speeches and reports paying tribute to those who founded the college were gradually supplanted by the awarding of degrees and the honouring of students' achievements.

Academic procession

A picturesque procession of graduates, faculty and staff will march from the Mackay Promenade to the Richard J. CURRIE CENTER before each graduation ceremony, weather permitting.

Order of procession

The procession is traditionally led by a piper who is followed by the university marshal; PhD, master’s, and bachelor’s graduands; faculty and staff; the platform party; and the mace bearer. If present, the lieutenant-governor and the aide-de-camp are at the end of the procession.

Where to line up for procession

Graduates line up in the Mackay Promenade approximately 30 minutes before the start of each ceremony. Faculty and staff will meet in the Long Hall of the Currie Center for the honour guard procession.

Academic dress

The university calendar sets out academic dress regulations for undergraduate bachelor's, master's and doctor's degree recipients. 

The proper way for graduands to wear their hoods is with the color turned out on the left shoulder. The proper way to wear caps: tassel on left side before graduation and tassel on right side after graduation. Graduates may keep the souvenir caps they receive with their gown rental and they have the option of not wearing a cap. Members of the military and the RCMP may wear academic dress over their dress uniform.

Mace

The mace symbolizes the authority of the university to award degrees, and is carried by the university secretary during the academic procession. The mace was first used in 1996 and was a gift from Chancellor Fredrik S. Eaton.