Academic Council

Authorizes Release:

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible Area:

Academic Affairs

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

December 2023

Related Policies and Additional References:


The wearing of cords and sashes during commencement is reserved for academic honor societies, university honors, distinguished graduates, Presidential Awards recipients and those who have participated in study abroad experiences.

The University recognizes social Greek (fraternities and sororities) organizations’ commitment to excellence and service. It is noted that the criteria for induction into these organization are slightly below the criteria required of honor societies. There is also an issue of ‘continuing eligibility.’ That is, whether students who are inducted when they are freshmen, sophomores or juniors remain eligible at time of graduation or a member is no longer an active member of the organization for one reason or another. There are two academic honor societies for Greek organizations – Gamma Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega that are authorized by the University to wear cords/sashes at commencement.

The following student organizations are approved to wear honor cords or sashes at commencement:

  • Alpha Kappa Delta – Sociology Honor Society (TEAL Cord)
  • Alpha Eta Chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma – National Catholic Honor Society (GOLD and MAROON Cord)
  • Alpha Phi – Social Sorority (SILVER and BORDEAUX RED sash/stole)
  • Alpha Phi Sigma – Criminal Justice Honor Society (BLUE and GOLD Cord)
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda – Non-Traditional Student Honor Society (GOLD and BURGUNDY Cord)
  • Alpha Sigma Phi – Social Fraternity (RED and SILVER sash/stole)
  • Alpha Sigma Tau – Social Sorority (GREEN and YELLOW sash/stole)
  • Beta Alpha Psi – Accounting Finance & Information Systems Honor Society (BLACK and RED Cord)
  • Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta) – Biological Sciences Honor Society (GREEN and RED)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma – Business and Management (BLUE and GOLD Cord)
  • Delta Zeta – Social Sorority (PINK and GREEN sash/stole)
  • Gamma Sigma Alpha – Greek Honor Society (RED and GOLD Cord)
  • Golden Key Honour Society – Honor Society (BLUE and GOLD with GK Charm)
  • Greehey Scholars – MEDAL
  • International Business Honor Society – MEDAL
  • Kappa Delta Chi – Social Sorority (PINK, MAROON and GREEN sash/stole)
  • Kappa Sigma – Social Fraternity (RED and GREEN sash/stole)
  • Lambda Chi Alpha – Social Fraternity (PURPLE, GREEN and GOLD sash/stole)
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon – Economic Honor Society (BLUE and GOLD Cord)
  • Order of Omega – Greek Honor Society (WHITE and YELLOW Cord)
  • Phi Alpha Theta – History Honors Society (LIGHT BLUE and RED Cord)
  • Phi Eta Sigma – Freshman Honor Society (BLACK and GOLD Cord)
  • Phi Sigma Alpha – Political Science Honor Society (BLACK, WHITE and RED Cord or Medallion)
  • Phi Sigma Iota – Foreign Language Honor Society (GOLD Cord)
  • Phi Sigma Tau – Philosophy Honor Society (PURPLE and WHITE Cord)
  • Pi Alpha Alpha – National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Public Administration (LIGHT BLUE and YELLOW Cord)
  • Psi Chi – Psychology Honors Society (SILVER and DARK BLUE Cord)
  • MARC Scholars – SASH – Dark Blue with Gold Lettering MARC U*STAR Class #
  • McNair Scholars – (GOLD and SILVER Cord)
  • SACNAS – Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (WHITE and GREEN stole)
  • Sigma Alpha Pi – National Society for Leadership and Success (Honor Society) (SILVER and BLACK Cord)
  • Sigma Beta Chi – Social Fraternity (BLACK and YELLOW sash/stole)
  • Sigma Lambda Beta – Social Fraternity (PURPLE and WHITE sash/stole)
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon – Social Fraternity (PURPLE, RED and GOLD sash/stole)
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma – Social Sorority (ROYAL PURPLE and WHITE sash/stole)
  • Sigma Tau Phi (Alpha Phi Sigma) – Criminal Justice Honors Society (BLUE and GOLD Cord)
  • Society of Honors Scholars – Honors Program (SMUSHS) (GOLD Cord)
  • STEM Scholars – Stole with STEM Scholar displayed on it
  • SURF Fellow – White cord

Other distinctions include:

  • Distinguished Graduates – Undergraduate and graduate students who graduate with Honors. Undergraduates wear cords (SUMMA – BLUE GOLD BRAIDED; MAGNA – GOLD; CUM LAUDE – BLUE). Graduates wear medallions.
  • International Sash – Students/faculty who participated in study abroad program or other international educational program (ie – internship, summer tour). (London, Spain, Southern Cones, Malta, China, Mexico, Innsbruck, Semester at Sea, to name a few).
  • Student Athlete – Blue sash with “Student” on one side and “Athlete” on the other side in gold letters. It has the StMU Athletics logo under “Student” and the Rattler head under “Athlete”
  • Veterans – Red, White and Blue cord
  • Distinguished Medals for Service – medals recognize students who commit to an extended period of volunteer service after graduation. It is a joint initiative between the Office of Civic Engagement and University Ministry. All graduating students were invited to respond to Civic Engagement if they have committed to an extended volunteer service opportunity after graduation. Any student who commits to a minimum one-year volunteer service opportunity would be eligible for the Post-graduate Service Recognition.  The student must be starting this service commitment within six months of graduation.


  • Updated 12-5-11 (added Alpha Kappa Delta)
  • Updated 5-2-13 (added cord descriptions)
  • Updated 4-11-14 (name change – Sigma Tau Phi (Alpha Phi Sigma) Criminal Justice Honors Society)
  • Updated 4-15-14 (added Phi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society)
  • Updated 3-18-15 (added STEM Scholars)
  • Updated 3-9-17 (added Golden Key Honour Society)
  • Updated 4-19-21 (added SURF Fellow)
  • Updated 4-29-21 (added Veterans)
  • Updated 5-3-23 (added Student Athlete and Fraternity and Sorority)
  • Updated 12-15-23 (added SACNAS)
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