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Distinctive Honors

Forty-one honor groups and societies, the International Club, one student government organization, and study abroad students have been granted approval for their graduating members to wear special honor cords or medallions during Commencement. Click here for more information.

Advisors of other honor groups may request approval for their graduating members to wear cords of distinction or other special forms of recognition. All requests must be made in writing to the Events Office, for processing. The request should include a detailed description of the distinctive item and should be submitted by the third week of January prior to Commencement. Once approved, the distinctive items may be worn at all subsequent Commencements. Distinctive items must be ordered directly from the honor society.

The following descriptions are on record as approved distinctive honor items for Commencement:

Allies Institute
Medal with green ribbon.

Alpha Kappa Delta––Sociology Honor Society
Honor cord is a teal, double-twined cord that is 58 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter.

Alpha Kappa Psi – Professional Business Fraternity
Navy blue and gold cords knotted together with tassels at each end.

Alpha Phi Sigma––National Criminal Justice Honor Society
Royal blue and gold double intertwined honor cords.

Alpha Psi Omega––Theatre and Dance Honor Society
Honor cords, 4 feet in length, light blue with a thin amber thread running through, at each end is an amber tassel, the cords are hung around the neck and knotted at the left side, on the knot are three amber buttons with the Greek letters Alpha, Psi, and Omega in blue.

Aeropagus--English Honor Society
A medallion with the Lamp of Learning on an open book hanging from a blue and red heavy grosgrain ribbon.

Beta Gamma Sigma––Business Honor Society
Two gold and blue cords tied together midway with tassels at the end.

Bonner Scholars––Community Service
A handmade pewter medallion featuring the Bonner Scholars Program service logo of a graduation cap (or mortarboard) with a heart in the middle, worn around the neck with a grosgrain ribbon.

Delta Epsilon Mu––Professional Pre-Health Fraternity
Black cord and red cord knotted together with tassels at each end. Each cord is 58 inches long and 1/3 inch in diameter. 

Eta Sigma Gamma––National Health Education Honor Society
Green and gold honor cords single twined, 30 inches in length, are tied together with one knot, and is worn over the gown around the neck.

Eta Sigma Phi––Classics Honor Society
Purple and gold honor cords knotted together as a pair representing the society's two colors.

Sigma Pi Pi––Chemistry Honor Society
Two-stranded honor cords––one blue and the other white.

Gamma Theta Upsilon--Geography International Honor Society
The honor cord consists of the three Gamma Theta Upsilon colors-brown for the Earth, light blue for the sea, and gold for the sunlight or sky.

Golden Key National Honour Society
All graduating Golden Key International Honour Society members: gold and blue honor cord.  In addition, all graduating Society members named as having the highest GPA: gold and blue ribbon with an attached gold medallion to be worn around the neck.

Honor Council
Navy blue and crimson cords knotted together.

International Club––International Education Program
Members of the International Club may wear the study abroad sash that displays the national colors of their country's flag. These can be purchased from Alternatively, they may choose to wear a small flag (not to exceed the dimensions of 3-by-5 inches) representing each student's respective country. This small flag, which can be purchased at, is to be worn on the left shoulder of the gown.

Kappa Delta Pi––Education Honor Society
Purple and green interwoven honor cord with tassel at each end.

Lambda Alpha––Anthropology Honor Society
A copper 54” honor cord with 4” chainette tassels at each end

Lambda Pi Eta––Rhetoric and Communication Studies Honor Society
Gold honor cords. Majors graduating with departmental honors are approved to also wear a silver honor cord.

Leadership Studies Honor Society––Jepson School of Leadership Studies
Red and gold honor cords.

Mortar Board—National Scholarship, Leadership and Service Honor Society
A gold and black medallion, 2 inches in diameter, on a white ribbon 14 inches long and 1 inch wide is worn around the neck.

Oliver Hill Scholars
Kinte cloths worn over the gown, a white stole with the symbol of the wisdom knot, which represents wisdom, ingenuity, and intelligence.

Omicron Delta Epsilon––International Honor Society in Economics
The society was founded jointly at Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin in 1919. The University of Richmond chapter began in 1973. Members are identified by a braided cord of gold, white, and blue.

Omicron Delta Kappa––National Leadership Honor Society
Three twisted cords. Colors: white, black, and blue.

Phi Alpha Theta––History Honor Society
Madonna red and blue honor cord with multi-colored matching tassel at each end.

Phi Beta Delta––International Scholars Honor Society
A bronze medallion, 2 inches in diameter, on a red and yellow ribbon 14 inches long and 1 inch wide hung around the neck, displaying the red and yellow colors, but with the medallion positioned inside the robe, not on display.

Phi Beta Kappa––National Scholarship Honor Society for Liberal Arts and Sciences
Phi Beta Kappa Key suspended from blue and pink ribbon.

Phi Eta Sigma––First Year Scholarship and Academic Excellence
Two gold and black cords with tassels at the end, and tied together midway the length (32 inch approximate length).

Phi Kappa Mu––Music Honor Society
Pink honor cords.

Phi Sigma Iota––International Foreign Language Honor Society
Purple honor cords.

Phi Sigma Tau––Philosophy Honor Society
Light blue and dark blue honor cords knotted together as a pair.

Pi Alpha Chapter of Mortarboard National College Senior Honor Society
A gold and black medallion with the Mortarboard emblem and motto worn on a white ribbon. [May wear black and gold honor cords as alternative].

Pi Mu Epsilon––Mathematics Honor Society
Purple and gold honor cords.

Pi Sigma Alpha––Political Science Honor Society
The Pi Sigma Alpha Medallion, a hard-fired cloisonné enamel on brass-finished metal, hung lavaliere-style from a broad red grosgrain ribbon.

Psi Chi––Psychology Honor Society
Approximately 4-foot double gold cord with royal blue and gold tassels, knotted in middle, worn draped around the neck with gold knot in back of neck.

Scholar Student-Athlete––Senior Student-Athletes Honor Group
Ribbon attached to corner of mortar board, 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. The bottom ribbon is red with a 1-inch wide royal blue ribbon centered on top of the red ribbon.

Sigma Delta Pi––Hispanic Honor Society
Badge consisting of two five-inch long ribbons, 1/2 inch in width, left ribbon yellow, right ribbon red, joined at the top by wearer's own society pin.

Sigma Pi Sigma––Physics Honor Society
A gold pin with the Greek initials attached to the graduation cap with a tassel of green and beige cords.

Sigma Tau Delta––English Honor Society
Medallion, 2 inches in diameter inscribed with the words "Sincerity," "Truth," and "Design," encircling the Greek letters and a torch and pen along with the date of founding(1924), hung on a red ribbon.

Study Abroad Students
Study abroad students may wear the study abroad sash that displays the unique qualities and national colors of the host country's flag. These can be purchased from Alternatively, study abroad students may choose to wear a small flag (not to exceed 3-by-5 inches) representing the country in which the student studied. This small flag is to be worn on the left shoulder of the gown. These can be purchased from

Theta Alpha Kappa––National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology
A red honor cord.

Tri Beta––Biology Honor Society
Red and green honor cords.

Westhampton College Distinguished Leaders Award
A 2-by-2 inch handmade pewter medallion with the Westhampton College distinguished seal hung on a wide ribbon, worn as a necklace over graduation Senior Leader's gown.

Women's Studies Honor Society
Purple and white honor cords.