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Penn State’s Most Creative Graduation Caps

Last week, we asked you to send in pictures of your decorated mortarboards, and we weren’t disappointed. After looking through submissions, it’s been made clear that Penn State students are some the most creative and artistic students in the country. So, without further ado, here are the best of the best.

The Penn State Proud

Annie Adams (left) will be feeling the pride when she graduates this year with a Bio-Behavioral Health degree.

Chelsea Spatz (center) will graduate with a degree in advertising. Her cap’s top is a traditional Penn State bedazzled design. However, on the bottom she wrote the names of all the family members who helped her in her journey through college.

Jillian (right) will be a 2015 graduate with a communication sciences and disorders degree. Her story is much like all of ours: “I  fell in love with Penn State on my very first college visit. No matter where I go, I will always be a Nittany Lion. Penn State Forever.”

The Major-Specificnnnnn

Kristen Kichline (left) will be attending PA School at Western University of the Health and Sciences. She wanted to represent her future and love of anatomy with a little sparkle.

Sonya J. (right) is a risk management major graduating this spring and showed her clever side on her cap. The story behind her cap decoration is: “I got an amazing job in Chicago doing catastrophe risk and all my work here has paid off by getting this job.”

The Bedazzled

image1Saché Collier, a 2015 Labor Studies and Employment Relations major, took eight hours to design her bedazzled cap. She might only need it for one hour, but that hard work resulted in one of most creative and eye-catching caps I’ve ever seen.

The Quotetastic

Casey Holderbaum (left) is graduating this spring. Her cap has a quote in homage to her favorite book “East of Eden” by  John Steinbeck. The full quote is “But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.'”  She explains that life is full of choices and her decision to come to Penn State was one of them. “Penn State has taught me what it means to make the right choices and help make the world a better place,” she said.

Katie Christy (right) graduated this past December, a day she says was “easily the saddest day of my short 23-year life.” Her cap explanation is simple, “Harry Potter forever ya bish.”


Krista Trescott (left), a 2014 graduate, used her grandfather’s favorite quote and her love of bows as her graduation cap design. “This is my grandfather’s favorite quote and it has always stuck with me when I am feeling sad or need something to look forward to in the future. He said it to me the last time I saw him before he passed away when I was younger. I also love bows! If you ask anyone I am always wearing one,” she said.
Alyssa Lambert (right) was inspired by her love of Disney in her cap decorating. “Last spring, I had the opportunity to intern at Walt Disney World and fell even more in love with the company. When thinking about how to decorate my graduation cap, I knew it would involve Disney in some way,” she said. “Moving onto the next adventure in my life, I thought Disney’s ‘Up’ would be the perfect movie to draw on for inspiration for my graduation cap. You can take the girl out of Disney but you can’t take the Disney out of the girl!”

Unique Designs

BeFunky Collage

Liz Veys (left) is graduating this semester with a degree in biology and a minor in women’s studies. To make sure her cap was perfect, she spent two hours at Michaels to find the best flower arrangement.

Monika Danis (right) is also graduating this spring with a degree in New Media Art. Her inspiration came from street artist Cryptik and his Om Shanti prayer piece. In her own words, “I decided to replicate the Shanti mantra for my cap. Shanti mantras always end with three utterances of the word Shanti, in order to remove obstacles in the three realms: physical, divine, and internal. I thought it was only fitting for graduation.” She also said that drawing these patterns gave er some inner peace during finals.

The Heirloom


Tristalyn Bixler-Kint (left) graduated in 2012 with a film/video degree. Her sister Brittany Kint (right) is graduating in 2016 with a print journalism degree. Tristalyn was a Majorette in the Blue Band and her sister is continuing the tradition as a “jette” herself. “Jettes are known for their bedazzling and sparkly costumes, so I couldn’t graduate with anything less,” Tristalyn said. “My sister will graduate with the same cap next year, also proudly from the College of Comm., just like her big sis! You could say it’s a family tradition.”


Which mortarboard was your favorite? Did we miss your awesome cap? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Brandilyn Heckman

is a junior majoring in Secondary Education (English). Though she commutes to class from her home in Penns Valley, she refuses to be called a 'townie.' Along with Onward State, she currently interns with the Centre Daily Times. In her spare time, she is unafraid to show her love for Penn State, Landon Donovan, and Captain America. You can follow her on twitter at @Brandilynh or contact her via email with [email protected]

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