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  • pa studies graduates look onward during their commencement ceremony

    commencement 2020

    join us in celebrating this milestone and honoring the dedication, hard work and resilience of our graduates.

  • MBKU Commencement Diploma

    commencement 2020

    join us in celebrating this milestone and honoring the dedication, hard work and resilience of our graduates.

  • SCCO Graduates take the oath during their commencement ceremony

    commencement 2020

    join us in celebrating this milestone and honoring the dedication, hard work and resilience of our graduates.

celebrating mbku's class of 2020

to our 2020 graduates,

at the start of all this, we thought we would be able to just delay graduation a few months and have a live, face-to-face commencement where families and friends could attend and celebrate with you. in fact, when we surveyed you – you agreed. however, as time has passed, it is clear that it is extremely unlikely meetings in large groups will be safe and perhaps, not even allowed by national and state guidelines.

we simply can’t let this moment pass without giving you the ceremony you have earned and the memories you deserve!

therefore, the leadership of the university would like to honor your accomplishment with a virtual ceremony. we know this is a special moment for you and your families, so know that your involvement will be critical. in order to have enough time to properly organize your special ceremony, please take note of the important changes we have implemented.

you have been through a lot. the mbku administration, staff and especially your faculty know the challenges you have faced and the disappointment you must feel at this time. we are excited to do everything possible to make this virtual graduation ceremony something very special – you deserve it!

– kevin l. alexander, od, phd

virtual ceremonies

in compliance with cdc guidelines, local public health directives, and our covid-19 health and safety procedures, our commencement ceremonies will take place virtually. in these unprecedented times, we continue our celebration of this significant milestone and honor the dedication, hard work and resilience of our graduates.

although the class of 2020 commencement ceremony takes place virtually in response to covid-19, the university and administration have worked diligently to celebrate the class of 2020 and present a special recorded commencement feature for them, their family and friends to watch in the comfort and safety of their homes. view the details of each ceremony below.

celebrate together with #mbku2020

whichever way you celebrate, share those moments with us by using #mbku2020 or tagging us on your social media posts. we created a collection of digital invitations, instagram story templates and facebook profile frames to add to your celebration!

college of pharmacy toolkit

scco toolkit 



commencement programs

college of pharmacy program

scco program

Graduates reciting oath

2020 and beyond

Quote wall on Fullerton campus

additional information for graduates

your regalia will be delivered to you either by appointment on campus or directly mailed to you. 

on the return of your regalia (we will provide a pre-paid shipping container), you will be sent 1) the class composite photo, 2) additional commencement programs (if requested), and 3) the video of your commencement ceremony.

if you haven’t already had graduation photos taken in your regalia, each of you may have your photo taken either on campus by multimedia or take it yourself at home and email it to us (directions to follow). these will be used during the ceremony and the photos will also be used to create a class composite. unfortunately, the traditional class picture taken in the amphitheater will not be possible.

each ceremony will be pre-recorded so we may be able to include all the special speakers we had planned for your ceremony including a keynote speaker, student speakers, etc.

your diploma and commemorative commencement program will be mailed to you prior to commencement. since you will also have your regalia, you will be able to take pictures of you with your diploma in hand with your family and loved ones.

learn about commencement traditions

the academic gowns that you see today represent a tradition that we inherited from the universities of the middle ages. those institutions were founded by the church; and the students, being clerics, were obliged to wear their clerical gowns and caps at all times. through the ages, these regalia were altered to accommodate both fashion and fancy.

in the united states, academic gowns are usually black, but the way they are worn and their cut distinguish the wearer’s academic degree. the bachelor’s gown is worn closed; the master’s and doctor’s gown may be worn open or closed. also, the sleeves of the gowns are shaped differently according to the level of degree: a bachelor’s gown has long, pointed sleeves; a master’s gown has oblong sleeves that are square in the back and have an arc cut away in the front, and a doctor’s gown has bell-shaped sleeves. in addition, velvet panels and chevrons, either in black or the color representing the academic discipline, distinguish doctoral gowns.

the mortarboards or tams for all degree holders are black. the tassels attached to the mortarboards can be black, the color that the individual academic disciplines choose to represent their field, or in the case of faculty, gold.

the hood is the most outstanding and colorful feature of the regalia. it is lined with the colors of the institution from which the wearers received their degrees. its size and shape indicate the wearer’s degree, and its collar is the color of the academic discipline. colors associated with different mbku degrees include:

  • sea foam green for the southern california college of optometry
  • kelly green for the school of physician assistant studies
  • olive green for the college of pharmacy

the colors are used for both the tassel and the velvet trim on the hood. the purple and gold satin lining of the hood represents the traditional colors of marshall b. ketchum university.

honor cords are worn to signify academic achievement and/or membership in an honor society depending on the college.

the southern california college of optometry recognizes students with the highest gpas. the gold summa cum laude cord represents a gpa of 3.8 to 4.0. the silver magna cum laude cord represents a gpa of 3.6 to 3.79. the white cum laude cord represents a gpa of 3.4 to 3.59. these honors are included on the student’s diploma.

the student with the highest cumulative gpa is the valedictorian, sits with the platform party and gives the valedictorian address. the student wears an engraved medallion.

the student with the second-highest cumulative gpa is the salutatorian. the student wears an engraved medallion.

beta sigma kappa is the optometric honor society (bsk). if the student is a member during their last academic year, the student wears a single gold cord. if the student was a member all four years, the student wears a gold and black intertwined cord.

the students keep the honor cords and medallions.

the school of physician assistant studies recognizes students at the leadership awards ceremony held the day before commencement. the students are awarded certificates.

the class president gives the graduate address during commencement. marshall b. ketchum university recognizes students from all colleges for the student leadership development certificate. these students are identified by the leadership medals worn on their gowns during the commencement ceremony.

colleges and universities often employ a “mace” to connect the institution’s customs with the best traditions of higher education dating to the first universities founded during the middle ages. a mace symbolizes authority, learning and scholarship, history, reputation and values. it suggests commemoration, elegance, honor, pageantry, purpose, quality, solemnity, stability and continuity. the mace is identified with the office of the president of the university and is carried through the procession by the highest-ranking faculty member of the college.