The Investiture of Dr. Bennie L. Harris

Fifth Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, April 15, 2022 | 10:30 a.m.

The Investiture Ceremony is counted among the oldest of traditions in academia. Originating in English universities and modeled after highly dignified knighthood ceremonies, investiture comes from the Latin phrase for "dress in robe." In academic circles, the term has come to mean one who will literally don the university's insignia and regalia.

The installation of a new chancellor is a ceremony of dignity with many academic traditions and protocols. An academic procession takes place that includes delegates from other colleges and universities, as well as USC Upstate’s own faculty. Marchers wear the colorful academic regalia of their own institution. Interspersed with musical selections, there will be the processional, invocation, greetings from several university and community groups, presentation of the symbols of office, chancellor address, singing of the Alma Mater, benediction, and the recessional.

The investiture of a chancellor is a significant event in the life of a university. Since the University of South Carolina Upstate was founded in 1967, our institution has been guided by five chancellors, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the history of the university and the Upstate region.

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USC Upstate Excellence Fund Giving

In honor of the Investiture of USC Upstate Chancellor Dr. Bennie L. Harris, we invite you to join our vision for the future: Reimagine Upstate!

Welcome USC Upstate’s fifth Chancellor with a gift to the USC Upstate Excellence Fund! Your gift will support the transformative strategic priorities that are vital to the university’s excellence in innovation and education.

Give to the Excellence Fund!

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Dr. Benny Harris in regalia

Academic Regalia

The attire worn by participants in university inaugurations reflects symbolism dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. From medieval practice, academic dress has three items: cap, gown, and hood. Bachelor’s gowns are black with long, pointed, open sleeves. The master’s gown has a long, closed sleeve hanging below the elbow. Three bars of velvet on a full sleeve distinguish the doctor’s gown. For all degrees, the mortarboard is the traditional cap; doctors may elect to wear a velvet tam instead. The tassel may be gold or another color that indicates the field of study.

The length of the academic hood is the identifying symbol for the type of degree. A three and one-half-foot hood represents a master’s degree. The doctoral hood is four feet. The lining indicates the college or university that awarded the degree. The color of the velvet on master’s hoods represents the field of study. Velvet on doctoral hoods may represent the field of study or may be the traditional royal blue that represents the doctoral degree. The most frequently seen colors are white for arts, yellow for science, pink for music, blue for philosophy, light blue for education, brown for business, orange for engineering, turquoise for continuing studies, gray for general studies, and apricot for nursing.

Accademic Mace

The University of South Carolina Mace

The University of South Carolina Mace was designed and fashioned by Leslie Durbin, distinguished silversmith of London, England. Officially adopted in 1967, the mace was presented to the University as a memorial to Susan Richardson Guignard by an alumnus, Dr. George Curry.

The brilliantly gleaming silver and gilt mace is nearly four feet long. Mounted on the head are the seals of the University, the state of South Carolina, and the Great Seal of the United States. From the middle of these arises a stylistic representation of the state tree, the palmetto, the fronds of which are formed by a group of 13 stars, representing the founding colonies that include South Carolina. The shaft is decorated with eight stars, reminding us that South Carolina was the eighth state to enter the Union.

The mace is carried in procession on occasions of outstanding importance, such as commencements, convocations, and formal dedications. The placement of the mace on its stand signals that the proceedings are about to come to order; its retirement indicates the conclusion of the exercises.

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The Chancellor's Medallion

The University of South Carolina Upstate Chancellor Medallion is crafted of bronze and also bears the seal of the University. The medallion is inscribed with the year 1967, which indicates the year USC Upstate was founded. Just above the medallion is a small plaque that bears the word chancellor. The medallion is worn for formal occasions, such as convocations, commencements, and inaugurations – a tradition that can be traced back to the Middle Ages.

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Winter 2021 (Latest Issue)

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