What Goes Around Your Neck at Graduation


What Goes Around Your Neck at Graduation: The Significance of Academic Regalia

Graduation is a momentous occasion in every student’s life. It marks the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and academic achievement. As graduates walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, they don a symbol of their accomplishments: academic regalia. Among the various components of this traditional attire, the neckwear plays a significant role. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of what goes around your neck at graduation.

The Origins of Academic Regalia

The tradition of academic regalia dates back to medieval times when universities were first established. Scholars and clergy members wore robes to distinguish themselves from the general population. Over time, these robes evolved into the elaborate gowns we see today. The specific colors and designs of academic regalia vary between institutions, reflecting their unique traditions and values.

The Significance of Neckwear

One of the most prominent elements of academic regalia is the neckwear. It typically takes the form of a stole, hood, or scarf, which is draped around the graduate’s neck. The color and style of the neckwear are significant as they convey important information about the graduate’s academic achievements.

The Colors and Meanings

The colors of the neckwear are not chosen at random. They symbolize the field of study and level of academic achievement. For example, a bachelor’s degree holder might wear a stole in the color of their university, while a master’s degree holder may wear a hood in the color of their field of study. Doctoral graduates often wear a hood in the color of their discipline, with velvet trim representing the institution where the degree was earned.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation Neckwear

Q: What is the difference between a stole and a hood?

A: A stole is a long, narrow piece of fabric that is worn around the neck and hangs down in front. It is typically associated with undergraduate degrees. On the other hand, a hood is a larger, more elaborate garment that is worn over the shoulders and drapes down the back. Hoods are generally associated with graduate degrees.

Q: Can I personalize my graduation neckwear?

A: While the overall design and colors of the neckwear are standardized, some institutions allow graduates to add personal touches. This may include embroidery on the stole or selecting a specific lining color for the hood.

Q: What if I earn multiple degrees?

A: Graduates who have earned multiple degrees may wear the neckwear that corresponds to their highest level of achievement. However, some institutions may allow graduates to wear multiple stoles or hoods to represent all of their degrees.

Q: Can I keep my graduation neckwear?

A: Yes, graduates are typically allowed to keep their neckwear as a memento of their academic journey. It serves as a reminder of their accomplishments and the hard work they put into earning their degree.

Q: What happens if I lose or damage my neckwear?

A: If you lose or damage your neckwear, you should contact your institution’s graduation office. They can provide guidance on obtaining a replacement or repairing the damaged item.

In conclusion, the neckwear worn at graduation holds great significance. It represents the years of study, dedication, and achievement that culminate in the receipt of a degree. The colors and style of the neckwear reflect the graduate’s field of study and level of academic accomplishment. Graduation neckwear serves as a powerful symbol of the wearer’s accomplishments and is a cherished memento of their educational journey.

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