UTRGV gonfalons to show colleges’ pride, history, at first commencement

By Jennifer L. Berghom

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 15, 2015 – When The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has its first commencement ceremonies Dec. 19, it will usher in a new set of customs and items honoring the accomplishments of its graduates.

Among the new items designed for UTRGV are the banners, called gonfalons, representing each college within the university.

A committee of representatives from each college met to determine what their respective gonfalons should look like. The process took about six months. The UTRGV Marketing and Creative Services team created the banners.

“Overall, it was a wonderful collaborative process between the college representatives and the design team,” said committee chair Dr. Kimberly Selber, director of marketing and chief creative officer. “Everyone was solution-oriented and really worked well together. The design team are incredibly talented craftsmen, and they invested quite a bit of additional research to create these symbols. These will be a source of pride for the colleges for many years to come.”

As a mark of unity, each gonfalon has a swoop at the bottom which represents the border of Texas. The swoops have a blue field and gold Texas Lone Stars representing UTRGV’s distributed campuses throughout the Valley, from Rio Grande City to South Padre Island.


The College of Education and P-16 Integration: The torch represents the guiding light – the ability for graduates to serve as a beacon for others and for the college to serve as a light that will lead the way for others.  The multi-colored flame symbolizes the forward-thinking nature of the college, bringing power to ideas. The background’s light blue color signifies education, wisdom, intelligence and integrity.

The College of Engineering and Computer Sciences: The dominant image is an interpretation of Moore’s Law: Every year, computer chips and components are able to compute twice as much data. The Eye of Providence symbolizes the Grand Architect. In this case, the engineer takes all things into consideration. The background orange color is for engineering and the metals involved in the processing and development of technology. The color purple is used to show social ethics.

The College of Fine Arts: The wave pattern represents the flow of the mind, freedom, imagination and knowledge. The three waves symbolize creativity, imagination and motivation. The interlocking shape represents unity and strength between arts and sciences. The hummingbird stands for joy, beauty, strength, movement and independence. The wineberry color stands for writing; khaki represents fine arts; gold is for arts; pink is for music.

The College of Health Affairs: The dominant figure of the peony flower is taken from Greek mythology to represent health and medicine: Zeus turned Paean into the flower because he was threatened by Asclepius’ pursuit of knowledge. The two snakes are Asclepius representing health and Hygeia representing wellness. The blue color is used to show the caring nature of the health professions, and green is for health and medicine.

The College of Liberal Arts: The trivium is derived from the medieval symbol for the seven liberal arts and sciences. The symbols of the lion and scales of justice represent the dialogue between the value of the emotions, power, and creativity with the rational, law and historical institutions. The crimson, gold, silver and blue colors represent the disciplines within the college.

The College of Sciences: The infinity symbol, for math and physics, also represents perfection, unity and balance. The atom represents the sciences. The vertical pillars are for the foundation of all life and biology, while the vertical lines signify energy. Golden yellow is the color of science, mathematics and physics, with gold for wisdom, understanding and enlightenment.

The College of Business and Entrepreneurship: The two-headed eagle represents power and authority, while also symbolizing collaboration. Both heads are facing north, signifying innovation, looking forward and success. The wings are open, ready to take flight to discover new horizons, a symbol of being open to new ideas. Wheat symbolizes wealth. The color rust stands for economics, brown for business and purple for leadership.

UTRGV Gonfalons


UTRGV anticipates awarding degrees to some 1,800 prospective graduates on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in three ceremonies: 9 a.m. at the UTRGV Brownsville Campus Student Union Lawn, and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo.

The morning ceremony will be open to graduates in all seven colleges. The 2 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates in the Colleges of Engineering and Computer Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences. The 6 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the Colleges of Business and Entrepreneurship, Education and P-16 Integration, Fine Arts and Health Affairs.

In the event of inclement weather, the 9 a.m. ceremony will be moved to the State Farm arena.


UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications

Jennifer.McGehee@UTRGV.edu UTRGV Director of Public Relations