Commencement Traditions

 

Personal recognition
The University of South Carolina honors each degree candidate’s accomplishment by reading their name, as they listed it, during the Commencement ceremony.  Each student is personally greeted by the President of the University of South Carolina and by the Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

University of South Carolina Alma Mater
When the chancellor closes the ceremony following the awarding of all degrees, the audience is asked to rise for the singing of the first verse of the Alma Mater after which the platform party will recess.  The Alma Mater is always sung with heads uncovered.  The tune is Flow Gently, Sweet Afton.

Over the years, the custom has arisen of raising the right hand, with the fingers cupped, when the phrase, "Here’s a health, Carolina!" occurs, as if offering a toast.

"We Hail Thee Carolina"  

We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise;  

With loyal devotion, remembering the days,  

When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be;

Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

   Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls

   And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls;  

We've honored and loved thee as sons faithfully;

Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!  

Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim  

Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame  

For ages to come shall their rallying cry be;

Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!  

 Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still  

Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill;  

And crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee;

Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

"We Hail Thee, Carolina" was written by  Professor George Wauchope

of the English Department in 1911 and was adopted as  the Alma Mater in 1912.