Traditions and Symbols

Tradition & Symbols


The UCR Pipe Band

The UCR Pipe Band performs on the campus and surrounding community at formal and informal events, including parades, memorials, highland games, athletic events, alumni events, Chancellor's events and Commencement. The band encompasses a diverse group of musicians and performers offering a wide variety of Celtic music played on bagpipes and drums. Visit their website to find out more about the UCR Pipe Band.

The Regalia

In 1895, American Universities adopted a code for uniformity in academic dress. These codes, handed down from European academic ceremonies, represent different degree levels, field of study, and the institution from which the degree was earned. Each color, worn on tassels, hoods, velvet and satin trimmings, represents a specific educational discipline:

  • Arts, Letters, Humanities: white
  • Commerce, Accountancy, Business: drab
  • Economics: copper
  • Education: light blue
  • Engineering: orange
  • Music: pink
  • Philosophy: dark blue
  • Public Administration: peacock blue
  • Medicine: green
  • Science: golden yellow
  • Theology: scarlet
  • Social Work: citron


The Seal of the University of California

UCR Seal

The present seal, designed by Tiffany and Company, has been used since 1910. The seal incorporates symbolic icons and phrases that represent the image of the University. Symbols used include:


  • The open book, which symbolized the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge.
  • The letter "A", representing the beginning of wisdom.
  • The five-pointed star above the book represents the discovery and sharing of knowledge.
  • The University motto, "Fiat Lux", or "Let There be Light", displayed on a scroll, represents the coming of light and knowledge in to the world.

 The Chancellor's Medal

Chancellor's Medal

The Chancellor's Medal is worn at ceremonial observances as a part of the chancellor's regalia. At the center is the University of California seal. The back of the medal displays the names of the campus' chancellors and year he or she was inaugurated.




The UC Riverside Mace

UCR mace

The academic mace, first used in the 14th century, is descended from the club of Hercules. The scepter on the mace stands for lawful power and regal authority, and was carried by Zeus, the Greek God of moral law and order.

Most academic maces take the same general shape. At the top is an ornament placed on a bulbous head; ring-shaped enlargements are found on the shaft; and the base is a round, foliated ornament.

The UC Riverside Mace was first suggested by Ramon J. Rhine, Chair of the Academic Senate, to represent the dignity and history of the campus. Professor Emeritus George Helmkamp designed and constructed the ceremonial mace, with Eugene L. Ethridge of the Chemistry Department contributing metal work.

The UC Riverside mace was hand crafted with inlaid woods, with the head and shaft made out of Hawaiian Koa wood. The light inlaid wood is Yellow Fir from Canada, and the dark inlays are Desert Ironwood  collected by Professor Helmkamp throughout Southern California. The mace has ornaments at the top and the base. The base is in the shape of a citrus fruit, representing UCR's Citrus Experiment Station. The top   ornament is the bear of the State of California. Seals of California and the University are mounted on opposite sides of the mace's head. Below the seals are the mottos of California and the University, respectively,   along with the years 1850 (the year California was admitted in to the Union), and 1868 (the year the University of California was founded).

UC Riverside Alma Mater


Professor of Music Byron Adams joined the UCR faculty in 1987 and was dismayed to discover that the university did not have a school song. To promote school spirit and engender institutional pride, Adams held  an informal competition for the text of the song and selected the verses written by the late Bob Wild, a beloved physics professor. He then set forth to create "Hail Fair UCR".

"I sat down one beautiful winter afternoon and, inspired by the hills surrounding the university, the bell tower and the orange groves, composed Hail Fair UCR," he said. "It is meant to be sung in full - every word   and every note - at Commencement and other solemn, and not so solemn, university events."