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Awarding Military Honor Cords

A military student receiving their honor cord during the Military Honor Cord Ceremony
Image: Patrick Mansell, Penn State

About 20 percent of Penn State World Campus students are affiliated with the United States military in some way. Some service members choose to begin their education while they are on active duty, while others enroll once they are veterans. We’re proud to serve this unique group of students that are passionate about pursuing and achieving their educational goals.

One action we take to recognize these students for their service is the awarding of military honor cords. Penn State students are allowed to wear cords of academic and military honors at their commencement ceremony. This distinctive red, white, and blue cord is provided to military students who have served honorably. If a military student plans to attend their commencement ceremony, they can proudly wear the honor cord and be recognized by their peers, faculty, and staff for their sacrifice.

Many students don’t plan to attend their commencement ceremony — and that’s okay! Military students can still receive their honor cord and display it with their diploma as a keepsake. Whether our military students can make the trip to Happy Valley or not, we’re dedicated to providing them with this token of our appreciation. That’s why most of our cords are distributed by mail, to the local address students list in LionPATH.

If eligible students do plan to attend commencement, they can also attend the on-campus Military Honor Cord Ceremony, officiated by the President of the University, Dr. Barron. This ceremony features food, mingling and networking with other student-veterans, and the awarding of honor cords.

Military students, we salute you! If you are eligible for a cord, you can expect to receive communications with more details during the semester that you mark your intent to graduate. You can also learn more about military honor cords and priority registration, another benefit to service members and veterans, on our website.