University inaugurations date back to centuries-old academic customs that formally acknowledge new leadership at the institution’s highest level. Today, university inaugurations typically include an installation ceremony in which the president is presented with the symbols of the office, and the days surrounding the ceremony feature activities focused on celebrating the institution’s mission.
Sloan Jones, director of Civic Engagement at the University of North Georgia, talks about the significance and history of inaugurations and how UNG's inauguration of President Bonita Jacobs will provide an opportunity to reflect on our heritage and to celebrate our future as one university.
What are the traditional elements of an inauguration?
Inaugurations comprise many events set around the formal installation ceremony. These events and the ceremony provide all constituents of the university, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community, an opportunity to come together as one body to celebrate the university's history and future. The events surrounding the inauguration at UNG will feature the academic, service, and leadership aspects of the university’s mission. A complete list of events may be found at http://ung.edu/inauguration/events.php.
What does the installation ceremony involve?
The focus of any inauguration is the formal installation ceremony. This is when the president is symbolically endowed with the responsibilities and powers attributed to that office, and it provides the president an opportunity to share her vision for the university through the inaugural address. The installation ceremony includes a formal processional of the academic faculty and delegates from other institutions and organizations, all attired in academic regalia, and it often includes the presentation of traditional items symbolic to the university, such as a mace and chain of office. Because the ceremony will involve high-ranking officials from the state and distinguished members of the academic and military communities, the event also helps heighten public awareness of the university and its mission.
How will Dr. Jacobs’ inauguration highlight the university’s mission and future?
The inauguration theme, “Building on a Tradition of Excellence,” will highlight the university’s outstanding student success rates and its role as a state leadership institution. Because President Jacobs places a strong emphasis on student success and opportunity, a key event during the inauguration is a scholarship ball that will be held on the evening of April 26 on the Gainesville Campus. Hosted by the university’s two philanthropic foundations, net proceeds from the ball will be used to support student scholarships on each of the four campuses.