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The Invesiture of Philip C. Williams, J.D., Ph.D.

Investiture Frequently Asked Questions

Investiture Frequently Asked Questions


Often, inaugurations of university presidents occur over several days and include many public events such as lectures, special theatre or musical performances and private receptions, dinners and events for donors and special friends of the university.
The "investiture" is the actual ceremony at which the new president receives the symbols of the office from trustees or management board of the institution. It serves as a platform for the president to publically express the vision or theme for the coming years.
Taking into consideration the current economic situation, and the enormity of the planning and human resources needed to organize a large inauguration, Dr. Williams has chosen to proceed with a simple, yet dignified, investiture ceremony that is open to the public.
Many private donors and corporations have contributed funds or providing in-kind services for the investiture ceremony and the reception. Dr. Williams is grateful for their support and all donors and sponsors will be listed in the official program.

What is an investiture ceremony?

An investiture ceremony is the formal ceremony of conferring the authority and symbols of a high office. In academia, the investiture is marked with the same pageantry as a commencement or convocation.
Many symbolic and celebratory elements comprise the actual investiture ceremony including the posting of the colors, processional, invocation, greetings from several university groups, the community, management board and state, presentation of the symbols of office, presidential address, singing of the Alma Mater, benediction, and the recessional.

How long will the ceremony last?

The Investiture Ceremony will last no longer than one hour and thirty minutes, with one hour for the reception.

Who is invited to attend the ceremony?

Anyone who has an interest in attending the Investiture Ceremony is welcome.

When will the doors open for the event?

The doors will open at 1 p.m.

What is the attire for the event?

The attire for the event is business casual.

May I bring a guest?

Yes, you may bring a guest.

Will there be sufficient seating for the guests?

Yes, there will be overflow seating available with live video feeds to the locations.

Investiture Facts

The Academic Procession

The ceremony will begin with a formal processional, much like a commencement, and includes the stage party who will participate in the ceremony, delegates from other colleges and universities, delegates from learned societies (accrediting organizations or special groups closely tied to higher education in which the institution holds membership), university faculty by rank, and student representatives.
Participants wear full academic regalia during the investiture procession and installation ceremony. The president marches in either earned regalia or regalia with the school colors, but without the medallion of office, which will be presented during the ceremony.

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.

Symbols of Office

Following the formal greetings, McNeese President Emeritus Dr. Robert Hebert will assist representatives from the University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Board of Regents in presenting the presidential chain and medallion. Dr. Jeanne Daboval, McNeese provost and vice president of academic affairs, will present Dr. Williams with the university mace.

Presidential Chain of Office

The specially designed presidential chain and medallion signifies that the president of the university is the temporary embodiment of the power, authority and autonomy vested in the institution. The president's chain holds a bronze cast of the seal of the university. Around the links holding the seal are bronze platelets bearing the name of each former president of McNeese State University and denoting the years served, as well as other ceremonial symbols integral to the university for almost 75 years.
The university president wears the chain and medallion at formal academic ceremonies, such as commencement, and when representing the university at events requiring formal academic regalia.

Ceremonial Mace

From its origin as a weapon in ancient and medieval times, the mace gradually became a symbol of peaceful leadership. Today maces frequently represent authority in parliamentary and formal academic occasions. The mace is borne in processions by a high official or by a representative of the authority presiding over the event. The McNeese mace is carried at each commencement and has panels with the Cowboy symbol and the fields of study in which McNeese awards degrees: Arts, Business, Education, Engineering and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, Nursing and Allied Health, and Sciences.
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