Meaning of the Sash

Graduation Sashes (which is synonymous with graduation stoles) have a long history.  Sashes date back to medieval times, where there was heavy involvement in educational institutions by the Church of England.  The beginnings of stoles, gowns, tassels and chords heavily resembled those worn by clergymen.

The main area of distinction in a sash is the color.  A color can signify the University that was attended, a persons major or a campus organization.  A sash can also signify an honor, achievement or an award.  Sashes can signify a students Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Suma Cum Laude status at graduation, however this can also be signified by gown color or by colored tassels.  Below are a list of widely recognized colors and majors:

Agriculture   Maize
Arts, Letters, Humanities   White
Commerce, Accountancy, Business   Drab
Dentistry   Lilac
Economics   Copper
Education   Light Blue
Engineering   Orange
Fine Arts, including Architecture   Brown
Forestry   Russet
Journalism   Crimson
Law   Purple
Library Science   Lemon
Medicine   Green
Music   Pink
Nursing   Apricot
Oratory (Speech)   Silver Gray
Pharmacy   Olive Green
Philosophy   Dark Blue
Physical Education   Sage Green
Public Administration, including Foreign Service   Peacock Blue
Public Health   Salmon Pink
Science   Golden Yellow
Social Work   Citron
Theology   Scarlet
Veterinary Science   Gray


Today sashes are most commonly made as a timeline of your college experience.  To show the allegiances and friends you have made over your 4 years as an undergraduate and to wear them proudly on your graduation day.  A sash usually includes at the very least the year of graduation (class of 20**).  The second most common item is a school name or major or both.  The third most common item is a name of your club or organization.