The history of Academic regalia dates back to colonial colleges. Today, academic regalia is worn by undergraduate students and ties the individual’s identity with a particular degree. The black collegiate cap & gown has become an increasingly popular fashion choice, but what does it mean? What are some alternatives? And what’s the significance of Honor cords – those twisted cords with tassels?
Honor cords are twisted cords with tassels
Honor cords on a black collegiate cap and gown are twisted, tassel-adorned cords. The cords are thirty inches long and are tied together or separated. The cords are made of rayon and are twisted. Colleges and high schools commonly use black cords for valedictorian and magna cum laude awards. Other uses include graduation ceremonies and individual recognition.
The honor cords, which are usually black and come in three different styles, are available in about 180 colors. They measure about 70 inches in length and have a 4-inch-long tassel on each end. The cords are pinned to the black collegiate cap and gown at the base of the neck with a safety pin. While pinning the honor cords is optional, it prevents them from slipping during the graduation ceremony.
Graduates usually wear two types of honor cords on their caps. One is for high school graduates, while the other is for college graduates. Honor cords are typically gold or blue and are adorned with a tassel on either end. Honor cords are a symbol of academic achievement and are worn in addition to membership in honor societies and other awards.
Academic regalia dates back to colonial colleges
Academic regalia has a long history in the United States. The traditions of European colleges and universities were carried over to the United States during colonial times. Columbia University in New York City was founded in 1754 under a royal charter from King George II of England. Students were required to wear academic habits every day, including black gowns and hoods. They wore this dress for formal occasions, such as graduation ceremonies and commencement ceremonies.
Today’s academic regalia includes a square, tasseled “mortarboard” worn by graduates. Although the “mortarboard” has a rectangular shape, some American universities use berets. In Colonial America, maces were worn in conjunction with regalia. The mace at Georgia Tech was designed by Cabell Heyward and was first worn at the presidential installation of John P. Crecine in 1988. The mace was made possible by the Class of 1934 and the Georgia Tech Student Foundation.
Alternatives to black collegiate cap and gown
There are a variety of alternatives to a traditional black collegiate cap and gown, which are worn on graduation day. Some companies, such as Herff Jones, offer environment-friendly gowns. They use recycled materials in the manufacturing process and offer gowns that are 100 percent biodegradable. Another company, Jostens, offers eco-friendly gowns. These companies believe that making an eco-friendly graduation a big deal will encourage students to think about sustainability.
Meaning of a black collegiate cap and gown
What is the meaning of a black collegiate cap and gown? A black cap is traditionally worn by academics to signify the completion of a course, while the color of the gown reflects the degree being completed. Academic tassels are usually gold and are worn over the gown to identify the degree. Gold tassels are used by students in Spanish National Honor Society (FNHS) chapters and Alpha Omicron Pi sororities. They are also used in business and management programs, while silver tassels are worn by students who have graduated from medical and law schools. These colors also signify hope, elegance, and loyalty.
The origin of the black cap and gown is ancient. The first university buildings were often founded by clergy, so students and professors wore hoods to signify their religious status. Wearing a black collegiate cap and gown made them stand out among the town folk. This also established the proverbial “Town vs. Gown” competition. Black collegiate caps and gowns are worn at many prestigious universities.