President Kelly Damphousse launched a new Texas State University tradition at the Spring 2023 commencement ceremonies by awarding challenge coins to TXST graduates.
Presidential Challenge Coins
Beginning in May 2023, all Texas State graduation candidates who participate in the university’s official commencement ceremonies will receive a TXST challenge coin as they cross the stage and receive their diploma. The zinc alloy coins with an antique bronze finish feature the University Seal on one face and Old Main and the graduation year on the other.
Challenge coins originated during World War I as a way for military leaders to recognize soldiers and other personnel for outstanding service and bravery. Over time, the military formalized the tradition and handed them out to recognize other milestones and achievements. Civilian organizations, including universities, started adopting the tradition in recent decades to recognize graduates and special honors.
Dr. Damphousse has received a variety of challenge coins throughout his career. He was inspired to design challenge coins to give students during his time at University of Oklahoma and Arkansas State University. Moved by the coins’ significance and history, he decided to bring the tradition to TXST.
“Graduation symbolizes a new beginning,” said President Damphousse. “Challenge coins are not only a token of achievement, they’re a reminder that you are a part of something greater than yourself. For our alumni, it signifies no matter where life takes them after graduation, they will always be a part of our Bobcat community. I like to think of our graduates carrying these coins with them as they embark on their individual paths, taking lessons learned from TXST to make the world a better place.”