|In the often unheated buildings of the middle ages, long
gowns were necessary for scholars to
ward off the cold.
Academic dress for graduations
started in the 12th and 13th centuries when universities first began
forming. Whether a student or a teacher, standard dress for scholars
was clerical garb. Most medieval scholars had made certain vows, and
had at least taken minor orders with the church so clerical robes
were their main form of dress to begin with.
In 1321, the University of Coimbra mandated that all Doctors, Bachelors, and
Licentiates must wear gowns. In the
latter half of the 14th century, excess in apparel was forbidden in
some colleges and prescribed wearing a long gown. By the time of
England's Henry VIII, Oxford and Cambridge began using a standard
form of academic dress, which was controlled to the tiniest detail
by the university.
Not until the late 1800s were colors assigned to signify certain
areas of study, but they were only standardized in the United
States. European institutions have always had diversity in their
academic dress, but American institutions employ a definite system
of dress thanks to Gardner Cotrell Leonard from Albany, New York.
After designing gowns for his 1887 class at Williams College, he
took an interest in the subject and published an article on academic
dress in 1893. Soon after he was asked to work with an
Intercollegiate Commission to form a system of academic apparel.
The system Gardner Cotrell Leonard helped form was based on gown
cut, style and fabric; as well as
designated colors to represent fields of study. For example green
was the color of medieval herbs, and was assigned to medical
studies. Because olive is close to green, was designated for
In 1959, the American Council on Education had a Committee on
Academic Costumes and Ceremonies review the costume code and make
changes. In 1986, the committee changed the code to clarify the use
of dark blue for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The shape and size of the hood and
the sleeve design of the gown show the degree a student pursued: a
Bachelor's Degree gown has pointed sleeves and no hood, a Master's
Degree gown had long, closed sleeves with arm slits and a narrow
hood, and a Doctor's Degree had bell-shaped sleeves and a draped,
The color of the hood's lining tells
which college or university the degree was given by. For example:
Harvard is crimson, Temple is cherry
and white, and Cornell is purple and white. However, other than the
lining, the hood must be black.
The field of study is designated by the color of the hood's facing. For example: Theology is scarlet,
Arts Letters and Humanities are white, and Music is pink.
Caps should only be made of black cotton poplin, broadcloth, rayon, or silk, to match
gown they are to be used with. Velvet may only be used for a
Tassels should be fastened to the
middle of the cap's top and allowed to lie where it will. It should
be black, or the color of field of study, unless it is for a
doctor's degree in which case is may be gold.
ward off: 避开
academic dress: 学士服