Student policies and procedures

Policy 03:09:00

Graduation and Pinning


To establish the standard organization and responsibility of Platt College graduation/pinning ceremonies.

Revision Responsibility: Registrar/Platt Student Nurses Association President

Responsible Executive Office: Dean of Nursing

Created: June 22, 2012, Revised June 9, 2015 to reflect new program order

Pinning ceremony history

The tradition of the nursing pin and the ceremonial pinning of today, originated in the 1860's at the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Having been recently awarded The Red Cross of St. George for her selfless service to the injured and dying in the Crimean War, Florence chose to extend this honor to her most outstanding graduate nurses by presenting each of them with a medal for excellence.

The Wolverton Royal Hospital in England initiated the tradition of presenting all graduates with a badge. The first pin was presented to the graduating class of 1880 at the Bellevue Hospital of Nursing in New York City. The pin presented to graduates was both beautiful and symbolic. It featured a crane in the center for vigilance, encircled with a band of blue for constancy, and an outer band of red for mercy and relief of suffering. Dr. Opas reports that by 1916 the practice of pinning new nurses was common in schools throughout the United Kingdom and North America.

The nursing pin for Platt College was designed by the first graduating class in the spring of 2008 and incorporates symbols of their choice. The scroll represents a commitment to academic rigor and the traditional nursing lamp on the right represent devotion to the care of individuals, families, and communities.

Academic Gown History

The gowns and colorful hoods traditionally worn in Platt College’s commencement ceremonies have their origins in the Middles Ages.  A statute in England in 1321 required that all “Doctors, Licentiates, and Bachelors” wear gowns. In the second half of the 14th century, the statutes of certain colleges forbade “excess in apparel” and prescribed the wearing of a long gown. Scholars were often clerics as well, and they adopted costumes similar to those of monastic orders. While   special attire covered rank and social status, thus lending a uniform look to ceremonies, it also served another purpose: warmth in drafty, unheated buildings. As the universities began to pass from control of Church, colors often were added to the somber robes and hoods, eventually signifying the degree and specialization.

The wearing of academic attire was adopted in North America in colonial days by Kings College in New York (now Columbia University). In 1895, American universities and colleges standardized their academic raiment; the resulting style followed the tradition established by England’s venerable Cambridge University. On ceremonial occasions, the regalia comprise a gown, hood, and cap.

Hoods are worn by members of the Platt College faculty and staff who hold master and doctoral degrees. Hoods are lined with the official colors of the university which confers the degree. The velvet edging on the hood, and often the velvet edging on the gown, represents the candidate’s major academic field. For example, white is for Arts and Letters, light blue for Education, golden yellow for Science, and pink for Music.

Usually, the cap consists of a closely fitting headpiece with a broad, flat, projecting square top, and a tassel. The latter may be black for all   degrees and ranks, or golden thread if the wearer holds a doctoral degree.

Awards Explanation

Students who have earned Honors Awards wear medals with ribbon colors that denote which award they have received. 

Bachelor Degree Awards

  • Cum Laude (3.50-3.75) - Red
  • Magna Cum Laude (3.75-3.99) - Blue
  • Summa Cum Laude (4.00) - Gold
  • Perfect Attendance during entire academia - Green
  • President’s Award - Purple

The President’s Award is awarded to one graduate and one Platt College employee. This award is chosen by the faculty and staff at Platt College for the individual that best represents the College’s Mission and Core Values. Platt College President’s Award recipients receive a medal with a purple ribbon. One student is awarded quarterly. One employee is awarded annually in June.


Program of Events in Order

Processional, Welcome by President, Presentation of the Class and Recognition of Medal Recipients, Conferring of Degrees, President's Medal, Pinning of Graduates, Lighting of Lamps, Nightingale Pledge, Commencement Address, and Recessional.