Gamecock graduation traditions

Graduation is an exciting time for students and their families, as well as staff and faculty. Some traditions surrounding graduation have been altered or modified since the COVID-19 pandemic, but many have remained the same. As this semester marks the return to a more normal commencement ceremony, it’s nice to remember old traditions and welcome some back.

One fun feature for those attending the ceremony is learning who among their classmates has been representing UofSC as beloved mascot Cocky. The students who have portrayed Cocky over the years finally reveal their secret identity by wearing Cocky’s feet along with the traditional cap and gown.

“Having every graduate’s name called and the university president shaking hands or bumping fists with each of them is a longstanding tradition that has always stuck out to me,” says Tiffany Foxworth, chief experience officer for the UofSC Alumni Association. “I also love seeing graduates and their families take pictures on the Horseshoe to mark the significant occasion.”

A newer tradition, Grad Dine, has been hosted by the Alumni Center every December and May since 2016. The event offers new graduates an opportunity to have dinner with their family and friends, either with other graduates or in a private dining setting.

“Grad Dine offers new graduates an opportunity to share a delicious meal with their family and friends and experience what it means to be a student for a short time and a Gamecock for a lifetime,” Foxworth says.

Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have included not hosting the ring ceremony, holding commencement ceremonies at Williams-Brice Stadium, and requiring masks for all festivities. While many precautions are still being taken, UofSC is ready to welcome back the ring ceremony and indoor commencements.

“Ring ceremony returning to the Horseshoe in October was a highlight for me," Foxworth says. "Seeing so many students and their family members come together to celebrate this milestone on their path to graduation was heartwarming.”

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