The Spring 2022 semester just came to a close and with it meant a new class of graduating Florida State University students. Here at Special Collections & Archives, we have commencement materials from almost every graduating class in the history of FSU. Our Commencement Program collection contains various materials related to commencement, including programs, announcements, exercises, and invitations. This collection spans from 1893, when FSU was the State Seminary West of the Suwanee, to 2012. Our Digital Library Center has been hard at work over the past year digitizing and now this collection is finally available on DigiNole!
Our Commencement Programs collection is a trove of information about FSU graduating classes. The programs record all recipients of degrees: graduate, undergraduate, and honorary, as well as the names of featured and honorary speakers. Also included is the schedule of events, music selections, and names of presenters.
The earlier commencement materials from the State Seminary, Florida State College, and Florida State College for Women are unique, with different styles for every year. The invitations from 1920-1930 are the most extravagant, with embossed covers, unique fonts, and colored ribbon bindings. Some of the programs are even bound in leather! After the early 1980s, FSU started to standardize its commencement programs. They had garnet covers, a uniform size, and gold foil embossments. This standardized program is pretty similar to what graduating students receive now.
The invitations don’t differ much from what FSU sends out today, as they include the date and place of the commencement ceremony. We even have some invitations from when FSU was the Seminary West of the Suwanee River!
Interested in coming to check out our commencement materials in person? Visit the SCA Reading Room or schedule an appointment.