Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Academics of Academic Dress

I went to watch a dear friend graduate today from the University of Southern Maine, she earned her degree in occupation therapy. While sitting in the Cumberland County Civic Center through the ceremony I began to study and wonder more about the academic dress. I have always found it interesting to look at the large variety of academic dress and wonder why there is so much variety. I also wonder why only at college graduations to the professors wear their academic dress, why don't we see teachers wearing their academic dress at high school graduations?

I always knew that most colleges choose to have their students wear black along with the traditional mortarboard hat, and that people earning a masters degree wore a hood, but too much beyond that I got lost. So after I got home this afternoon I decided to see what wikipedia had to say on the subject.

After reading the lengthy, and at times dull, article I realized that there are reasons why there is so much variety. The color of the hood corresponds to what field the degree is earned in. Undergraduate and graduate students wear a mortarboard had, while doctoral students get to wear the velvet tam. Undergraduate and graduate robes are black, while some doctoral robes are in a color corresponding again to the field the degree is earned in. It seems that in the United States and Great Britain this formal academic dress is only worn at graduation.

So anyway, after all of this reading I have decided that someone somewhere must have a degree in academic dress, and it all makes me wonder, what do they wear?

Enjoy ~SJ


rach :) said...

That is too deep a question for a Saturday night. Let me know if you find out.

Way to be a good friend. Graduating is great, graduation itself is often torture.

sboyce-cormier said...

Mt. Blue teachers march into graduation in academic dress.. The super graduated from BC where the gown is red, not black and they have tams on their heads. I knew you were dying to know and I agree with Rach.....graduations are awful.