PR professionals and other professional communicators are always looking for ways to differentiate our clients from their competitors .
It’s not just us in the PR industry who are doing that.
This is the time of year when astute college graduates try to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In the case of the Construction Management grads at Northern Arizona University, they do not sport the usual cap to go with their graduation gowns. They wear construction hard hats. I can’t think of any other group of grads who have such a meaningful and appropriate tradition.
I know the PR students don’t have such a cool shtick.
According to John Tingerthal, associate professor and chair of the Construction Management Program at NAU, the Flagstaff tradition started in 1999. Dr. Stephen Mead, professor and associate chair of Construction Management at NAU, brought it with him from East Carolina University.
Mead said it’s a way to differentiate our students from the rest of the many students who graduate from NAU.
“Each spring and fall we have a graduation banquet called the Demolition Ball where we formally ‘hat’ each of our graduates,” Mead explained. “They each get a personalized hard hat with their name, grad date, and the NAU logo, which they wear to the university graduation ceremony.”
But it’s not only the students who are adorned with NAU hard hats.
Tingerthal said, “We also give a hard hat to the Dean of the College, and he has it stashed behind the podium. He puts it on when he shakes hands with our students.”
That’s hard to beat!