Traditions & Regalia

The academic regalia worn and displayed at the inauguration ceremony has a symbolic meaning and a storied history. Each piece of academic regalia you will see on display during the procession and installation ceremony carries symbolic meaning about the University, its history and the traditions of higher education.

  • Chancellor Regalia

    The Chancellor’s regalia, worn at official University functions, is crimson and gold. Four velvet chevrons adorn each sleeve, signaling the gown belongs to a chancellor or president. Chancellor Haefner’s gown is embroidered with two University of Denver seals.  The DU seal was designed in 1949 by Frank L. Phillips, an artist and DU art instructor.  The seal contains a likeness of Mt. Evans. Chancellor Haefner’s doctoral hood is dark blue, denoting his earned Ph.D. degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin.


  • The University Mace

    A mace was originally a heavy staff or club made entirely of metal. It was often spiked and used as a weapon of war. Later it became a scepter of office, resembling the original weapon in shape and borne on ceremonial occasions.


    The University of Denver mace was produced by Colorado silversmith Connie Brauer. The three-foot-long mace is made of sterling silver with gold plating, incorporating minerals native to the state. Near its crown are 12 flat areas in which gemstones alternate with six symbols of the University. The gemstones are aquamarine (the state stone), rhodochrosite, citrine, blue topaz, rose quartz and heliodor beryl.


    The symbols are...

    • the Rocky Mountain region and Denver.
    • an original Colorado Seminary shield.
    • the lamp, representing undergraduate education.
    • the torch, representing graduate and professional education.
    • the seal of the University.
    • a symbol of the world.


    Fashioned in opalescent enamel, the symbols represent the scope of this institution, from the Rockies to the world.


  • University Medallion

    The DU medallion is worn by the chancellor for official academic functions. Originally presented to the institution by Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, the silver and gold medallion incorporates the University seal and motto, as well as four jewels on the electron orbits.


    The medallion is suspended by a massive silver chain that bears the name of the University’s 19 chancellors. It symbolizes the degree-granting power of the University and the authority of the chancellor as the institution’s chief administrator.


    Chancellor Buchtel’s original red vest has been carefully restored and is displayed in the chancellor’s suite in the Mary Reed Building.


  • Chancellor's Red Vest & Gold Buttons

    Chancellor Buchtel’s original red vest was carefully restored and is housed in University Archives.  Since then, almost all University chancellors have sported versions of their own red vests, wearing them as symbols of leadership, hope and promise.  DU’s 16th chancellor, Daniel L. Ritchie, commissioned a set of gold buttons for his red vest, which he intended to be passed along to each successive chancellor.  Those gold buttons have now been worn on the red vests of Chancellors Ritchie, Coombe, Chopp and Haefner.