Col­lege Grad­u­a­tion Garb Ex­plained

Riverbank News - - NEWS -

Col­lege grad­u­ates wear some unique and im­pres­sive duds for their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies. Caps, gowns, tas­sels, and hoods all can be seen parad­ing down the cen­ter aisle be­fore mak­ing proud ap­pear­ances at di­ploma pre­sen­ta­tions.

Grad­u­a­tion cloth­ing, also known as aca­demic dress, dates back to the twelfth and thir­teenth cen­turies. Cler­i­cal garb was stan­dard dress for pro­fes­sors and schol­ars, as many stu­dents dur­ing medieval times made cer­tain re­li­gious vows in ad­di­tion to pur­su­ing their ed­u­ca­tions. To­day, fac­ulty, grad­u­ates and alumni don such gowns dur­ing grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies in a nod to tra­di­tion.

The color and cut of grad­u­a­tion at­tire may sig­nify dif­fer­ent fields of study and lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion. Colors and styles may dif­fer de­pend­ing on the coun­try. Amer­i­cans fol­low the guid­ance adopted by the Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion, whose stan­dards have been re­viewed and re­vised a hand­ful of times through the decades. Some schools in­cor­po­rate their own unique twists as well.

In the United States, gowns worn by stu­dents re­ceiv­ing their bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter’s de­grees of­ten tie into the rep­re­sen­ta­tive school’s colors. Doc­toral gowns are typ­i­cally black, and robes are de­signed to be worn closed.

Hoods are scarf-like ac­ces­sories that rep­re­sent the sub­jects stu­dents stud­ied and the type of de­gree they earned, ac­cord­ing to the code es­tab­lished by the Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion. The shell ma­te­rial of the hood will match the robe and may be lined with the school’s colors. The outer edge of the hood is trimmed in a color that rep­re­sents the stu­dent’s field of study.

The colors that rep­re­sent the var­i­ous fields of study have been largely stan­dard­ized in the United States by the In­ter­col­le­giate Bureau of Aca­demic Cos­tume. For ex­am­ple, phar­macy is olive green and eco­nom­ics is cop­per, while the sciences are rep­re­sented by golden yel­low.

The caps, or mor­tar­boards with tas­sels, are also com­po­nents of grad­u­a­tion dress. Mor­tar­boards usu­ally co­or­di­nate with the color of the gown. Tas­sels are tra­di­tion­ally black, but school colors and gold for doc­tor­ate grad­u­ates may also be worn.

Grad­u­ates are of­ten ad­vised to wear dark-col­ored and in­con­spic­u­ous ap­parel un­der their aca­demic dress so that it blends and does not dis­tract at­ten­tion from grad­u­a­tion garb.

More in­for­ma­tion on aca­demic dress is avail­able through the Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion at www.acenet.edu.

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