Cap and Gown 101: Wearing Your Academic Regalia

Cap and Gown 101: Wearing Your Academic Regalia

November 14, 2019 6 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Jack Hi. I’m Jack Klotz, Jr. I’m an Associate
professor in the Media Studies and Production department here at Temple University, and
I also am the university’s Chief Marshal for academic ceremonies. I’m here in the Liacouras
Center and very soon this space is going to be transformed for the highlight of our academic
year. You’ve probably wondered what all the pomp and circumstance means like why we wear these fancy get-ups and of most pressing importance to our graduates,
which side do you put your tassel on? So, I’m here to tell you about the history and
tradition that goes along with the commencement regalia and where to put your tassel.
[music] Somber long gowns are a tradition of academic
and religious life that dates back to the 12th century. Most scholars were monks throughout
medieval times. There was a practical use for robes: they kept you warm. And hoods could
protect against drafts in unheated buildings. European universities began to develop their
own systems, which varied a great deal, but in 1895, several US universities developed
a shared standard for clothing and colors. [music]
>>Jack Now, because of this, at most American institutions, we can almost read a scholar’s
apparel and know that person’s institution, degree and subject. Now, there are several
basic types of gowns. [drum roll]
>>Jack Bachelors gowns have long pointed sleeves. Masters gowns have longer narrower closed
sleeves that often reach below the knees. Doctoral or Doctors gowns have full bell-shaped
sleeves with three bars of velvet and front opening faced with wide velvet bands. At our
commencement, you’ll see a variety of colors on the gowns, the hoods, the tassels, the
caps. And these colors indicate the degree that
a person holds or the institution from which the highest degree was earned, or the subject
matter. [music]
>>Jack Academic regalia include distinctive headwear. The mortarboard and hood are worn
by all degrees some PhD and juris doctor programs use soft velvet tams instead of mortarboards.
When degrees are awarded, graduates customarily shift their tassels–are you ready?– from
the right to the left. From the right… To the left!
[music]>>Jack And the hood length varies: 3 feet
for bachelors degrees, 3 and a half feet for masters and 4 feet for PhDs. Often the hood
lining indicates the school from which the degree is from, usually the school’s athletic
colors. Cords, stoles, and other decorations may be worn on the regalia to indicate academic
honors or membership in university groups. [music]
>>Jack The mase was designed by Tyler school of art professor Stanley Lechtzin. It leads
the procession and is carried by a faculty representative. The mase is followed by the
faculty’s chief marshall. That’s me!!! [music]
>>Jack Finally, you’ll notice president Neil D. Theobald wearing special presidential regalia,
and he wears a distinctive medallion emblamatic of his position as president the university:
the chain of office. [music]
>>Jack So maybe now all this stuff makes a little bit more sense. Congratulations to
all of our graduates and new alumni. See you at commencement.