New music, green caps and gowns for UH Manoa commencement

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
UH Manoa Chancellor's Office
Posted: May 6, 2005

The UH Manoa Commencement Committee has approved the use of green caps and gowns for commencement ceremonies beginning with this year‘s program on Sunday, May 15, 2005. Green replaces black that has been the standard in previous years.

Also new this year — the academic regalia, including robes and a cap, worn by UH Manoa Chancellor Peter Englert. The Chancellor has in the past worn the robes and colors from the University of Cologne (Germany) where he received his academic degrees in nuclear chemistry. The new robe features embroidered lapel designs depicting the kukui nut and leaves, and polished kukui nuts affixed to the robe near each shoulder. The kukui tree and nut have traditionally symbolized "the light of knowledge" as burning oil from the nut was used by Native Hawaiians as a source of light.

The Chancellor and staff, faculty members, and candidates for degrees will enter the Stan Sheriff Arena to the sound of new processional music performed by members of the UH Marching Band. The piece is entitled "Above All Nations," taken from the university‘s motto — Above all nations is humanity — engraved at the Founders‘ Gate entryway to the UH Manoa campus on University Avenue.

"Above All Nations" was composed by UH Manoa music professor Don Womack at the request of Chancellor Englert. "The Chancellor wanted to have some processional music which is unique to Manoa," professor Womack said. "We talked last fall, he commissioned the piece, and I wrote it in December and January."

Womack added: "My aim for the music was to capture both the joy and the solemnity of the occasion, and I hope I've been successful in doing so. I also wanted to incorporate some elements distinct to Hawaiʻi, UH and Manoa. Among these are a couple of thematic quotations embedded subtly in the music. If you're not paying attention you probably wouldn't catch them, but if youlisten carefully in a few spots you may notice quotes from HawaiʻiPonoʻi and from the Manoa alma mater, In Green Manoa Valley. Hopefully it all comes together to make something distinct and special for the Manoa commencement ceremonies."