An inauguration is not just the formal installation ceremony, but is comprised of a series of events organized around the ceremony. These events provide opportunities for members of the UNT family to celebrate all elements of the university and move forward together.
A successful inauguration will serve to unite those with a stake in the future of the university and the entire university family – students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, friends and donors – with a common understanding of the university and a vision of its future.
As a celebration, the UNT inauguration will:
The inauguration theme, "Rays of Excellence — Rekindle. Ignite. Illuminate.", was specially selected because those words personify elements of Bataille's vision that call for strengthening UNT's national reputation.
As is tradition at American universities, the ceremonial endowment of the presidential powers takes place some time during the year after the official appointment of a new president is made. This delay allows time for planning, as well as time for the presidents of all other American universities to be invited. All presidents are invited because an inauguration acts not only as an opportunity for a university to look ahead to its future while honoring its traditions, but also as an official recognition of a president's entrance into the nation's academic leadership.
While an inauguration is made up of many different events, the focus of an inauguration is the installation ceremony. The installation ceremony for Gretchen M. Bataille which be held on April 13 at 10 a.m. in the Coliseum.
The installation ceremony is where a new president is formally endowed with the powers and responsibilities of the presidency. The installation ceremony gives the new president the opportunity to share her vision for UNT.
Attendees will include the UNT community as well as delegates from national learned, professional and honor societies; delegates from colleges and universities throughout the nation; local, state and national community leaders and elected officials; and others.
The custom of recognizing the accomplishments of scholars through distinctive dress, color and ceremony began in the Middle Ages and has been adopted by various academic institutions throughout the world. American academic regalia has developed from the English traditions that originated at Cambridge and Oxford, and has been in continuous use in this country since Colonial times.
Each institution of higher learning in the United States has adopted a unique and well-defined system for identifying different academic degrees by use of specific gowns, hoods and colors. The baccalaureate (bachelor's) gown is identified by long pointed sleeves. The master's gown has a very long sleeve, closed at the bottom, and the arm of the wearer is placed through an opening in the front of the sleeve. Doctoral gowns are distinguished by velvet panels around the neck and down the front of the gown. Three horizontal velvet bars on each sleeve also may mark the doctorate. The colorful hoods worn by master's and doctoral graduates represent the specific degree earned and the degree-granting institution.
The variety of regalia seen in the inaugural procession arises from the fact that each university has its own distinguishing customs. The differences in the regalia of the inaugural participants represent the variety of institutions from which they graduated.
The mace is a traditional symbol of the authority held by the president of a university. The university's mace was designed by UNT art professor Harlan Butt and crafted by graduate students Mark Herndon, Masumi Kataoka, Noppakamol Pimolket and Diana Ramirez. The 34-inch-long mace has a shaft sculpted of polished walnut, enriched by silver and green enamel bands. Its rounded head of green-enameled silver and copper is inset with a silver-plated bronze medallion replica of the official seal of the university. Atop the mace is a silver eagle, UNT's mascot. The rounded foot of the mace also is made of green-enameled silver and copper and is inset with the star representing the state of Texas.
The medallion is a symbol of the office that is worn by the president on official and ceremonial occasions. The medallion, three inches in diameter, is a replica of the official seal of the university. It is suspended on a green and black velvet ribbon with rectangular silver links that give it a chain-like appearance. The fifteen silver links are each engraved with the name and dates of office of a former university president or president/chancellor.
Throughout history, seals have been used to authenticate official documents. Adorned with traditional symbols, the official seal of UNT is no exception. The symbols that comprise the university's seal are a laurel wreath, a five-pointed star and a burning lamp. The laurel wreath represents honor, one of the core values of the university. The five-pointed star represents the university's Texas heritage and is similar to the star used in the state seal. The lamp of learning represents knowledge and learning, demonstrating the commitment UNT has to enlightenment.