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The Enduring Significance of CUE Convocation Tradition

Convocation is a momentous event in CUE’s academic calendar – it symbolizes the culmination of years of hard work and dedication for students. Beyond the bestowing of degrees, CUE’s convocation is a tradition that has stood the test of time – 36 years, to be exact. These rituals and customs hold significant meaning for both graduates and the CUE community.

Convocation offers students a unique opportunity for graduates to reflect on their personal and intellectual growth over the years, and we hope fosters in them a deep sense of belonging amongst their fellow CUE Alumni. 

CUE’s rituals have incorporated the ceremonial mace, the eagle staff, the honour song, and the time-honoured speeches and presence of esteemed guests. The details of the ceremony that remain constant throughout each year creates a link between past, present, and future generations. 

Many elements of convocation ceremonies have deep roots in academia and can be traced back to medieval Europe, when dress marked the rank and profession of the wearer. The various components of academic regalia have come to symbolize levels of academic scholarship. 


CUE Regalia


Variations in sleeves, colours, and decorations represent degree levels and the particular preferences of individual universities. Faculty and guests with doctoral-level degrees wear the distinctive academic gown, hood, and cap of the institution from which they graduated. 

The hoods for CUE’s graduates are lined with blue and white, CUE’s official colours. Hoods worn often display colors that indicate the field of study. These colors can be seen as a satin lining or a velvet trim on the hood. Below are the colours that will be seen at CUE’s convocation:

  • Arts – White
  • Education – Blue
  • Environmental Health – Salmon
  • Management – Drab (light-brown) 
  • Science – Gold
  • Honorary Degree of the Doctor of Laws – Purple

The gold cord indicates a degree earned with distinction or with high distinction. 



The Mace

Historically, the mace originated as a weapon used by medieval knights. Over time, it evolved into a symbol of authority and power, often carried by high-ranking officials or leaders. In the context of universities, the mace represents the authority of the institution, its governance, and its commitment to education and knowledge. CUE’s ceremonial mace has Concordia’s traditional crest embedded on all 4 sides and on the stand.


Eagle Staff


The Eagle Staff

An Eagle Staff is a sacred item prepared with prayer and eagle feathers as a ceremonial display of leadership. Eagle feathers, when gifted, are considered the highest honour given by the Indigenous community. The eagle flies the highest, making it the closest being to Creator. When an eagle gifts us its feathers we use them to acknowledge a major contribution or achievement. Each eagle feather on a staff holds significance and tells a story. 

The CUE eagle staff was created by our Elders Council with many feathers from four communities across Turtle Island. Our Elders Council determines the carrier of the staff, and the CUE President is given the responsibility to keep and display our staff as a reminder to model leadership and to maintain good relations within the Indigenous community. 



The Honour Song 

The Honour Song is a prayer drum song to honour all graduates’ contributions and achievements. It also serves as a way to pass on cultural traditions, honour ancestors, and recognize those recipients who have demonstrated a commitment to their community. It is an Indigenous way of celebrating and sending wishes of health and happiness to those who are moving on to their next journeys. 


Cherishing the past and embracing new beginnings

While a student’s time at university can sometimes feel fleeting, the importance of convocation traditions remains steadfast. These rituals provide a powerful sense of closure for graduates. As a student moving forward in their life’s journey, we hope they can be proud of their accomplishments and cherish these time-honored customs, recognizing their enduring relevance in inspiring future generations of CUE scholars.


Once you pass the stage to receive your degree you are part of distinguished group of alumni. We hope you stay in touch with CUE and with your fellow graduates. As another keepsake tradition that connects you to your fellow classmates, consider investing in the CUE Ring that serves as a reminder of your educational milestones and the opportunities that lie ahead.