President’s Council authorizes commencement pins for graduating seniors

During the spring 2021 commencement ceremony, Augustana graduates can adorn pins reflecting involvement in campus groups, sports and more.

According to President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, the Commencement and Honorary Degrees Committee consulted with the President’s Council to have visual representation of seniors’ non-academic achievements and participation.

Laurie Daily, dean of the school of education and member of the committee, said the President’s Council came to a consensus in March, recommending that student organizations, sports teams and academic departments design pins that are two inches or smaller to recognize college experiences.

“We’re asking those organizations in their budget to look at pins, so then we can issue students a standard navy stole on which pins can be placed,” Herseth Sandlin said. “They can be reflected and worn in a way that people can see there are other things they’ve participated in: disciplines, programs or other activities.”

Senior Hannah DeWild said she is concerned about pins being covered up and not being visible from a distance.

“I think the stoles and the cords would be a better way to recognize that,” she said.

But Herseth Sandlin reminded students that commencement is mainly a celebration of academic prowess.

“We don’t want to, over time, take away from the significance of the academic achievement in that commencement ceremony in which we are conferring academic degrees,” said Herseth Sandlin.

The influence behind the pins was the nursing department’s pinning ceremony. On the Friday before commencement, Herseth Sandlin says that nursing students gather together to receive pins for their achievements.

No one will be without a pin on their standard-issue, navy stole, even if they did not participate in student groups during their time at Augustana. Every student already gets one pin during the rehearsal: one adorned with an “A” recognizing Augustana’s newest alumni, Herseth Sandlin said.

“There’s the alumni pin that all of the graduates have,” she said. “The nursing department has their pin. The school of education graduates now may have it. The student athletes may have it.”

Students should keep in mind that the extra pins’ presence is not yet set in stone. This year’s commencement will serve as a practice run for future ceremonies.

“The practice being implemented is for this year only, and there will be more discussion about this in the near future,” Daily said.

Noah Wicks contributed to this report.