Monday, May 18, 2015

History of graduation regalia

     Have you ever wondered why graduates and faculty look like they came from Hogwarts? Probably not, but we're going to tell you anyway. In 1222, Stephen Langton commanded that all clergymen in his authority should wear cappa clausa (graduation gown). Oxford and Cambridge clerks adopted the look. The academic dresses were originally designed to keep clerics, or people who are ordained, warm in unheated buildings during the 12th century. With minimal changes, it evolved into the academic apparel we know today. 
     Of course, America had to put in their two cents and standardize the practice of academic attire. American academic institutions established the Intercollegiate Commission which laid down guidelines such as different colors representing different areas of study. These guidelines are known as the Intercollegiate Code. 
     Over time more traditions have been developed from those of other organizations. For example, the tassel being moved from the right to the left after receiving the diploma is from Europe as a substitute for individual hooding.  The tradition of graduates throwing his/her cap in the air after receiving the diploma comes from the U.S. Naval Academy. This action is symbolic of the cadets's commencement to a new life.          

                                         --Mackenzi Wood, Megan Howlett, Triston Harlan, Whitnee Guthrie, Kara Kelso, Madison Lindsey, and Haley Robinson

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