Laurel Wreaths at The American University of Florence

AUF Spring Graduation, Thursday May 9, 2024

Blessed by the sun shining over the Palazzi Community Center’s garden, AUF students celebrated their graduation surrounded by family members, dear friends and faculty. As their names were called, each graduate walked on stage with a radiant smile. There, to mark this momentous occasion, a familiar face awaited them – their coordinator, advisor or department chair awarded them their well-deserved diploma.  The exchange was a touching symbol of the mentorship; it was a moment imprinted in memory, a testament to the bond between educators and students.


These students can now proudly wear the corona d’alloro, a laurel wreath symbolizing academic excellence. In ancient Greece and Rome, the laurel wreath was a symbol of victory, triumph and achievement, particularly in intellectual pursuits like poetry and the arts. As a statement of cultural continuity, Italian culture, heavily influenced by the Roman past, adopted the laurel wreath as a symbol of academic excellence. This unique tradition beautifully bridges cultures, honoring the heritage of Florence while celebrating the international student body of AUF. 


The joy of this day stretched across continents and oceans, reaching the hearts of loved ones joining us from all corners of the globe. A vibrant multitude of faces reflected the pride and love beaming from parents and friends who journeyed from all corners of the world to witness their loved ones’ triumph. 


The word “graduation” has its roots in the Latin language, specifically the word gradus, meaning “step” or “a step climbed.” For one to graduate encapsulates the idea of taking a step forward, progressing in the ladder of life. With this in mind, to all our beloved graduates, we wish all the best for the future. Future chefs, sommeliers, painters, digital artists, fashion professionals, international educators, and so much more, may you achieve all the goals you set. We, at AUF, will be your biggest cheerleaders as you embark on this new chapter of your journey.


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