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About Academic Regalia 

Candidate Dress
Degree and certificate candidates from North Central Missouri College wear a black commencement gown and mortar board.  Traditionally, the tassel on the mortar board is on the right side until the individual receives their degree.  At that time, the tassel is then moved to the left side of the mortar board, signifying the individual has “left” the institution with their degree.  Some also indicate that the tassel is moved to the left side of the mortar board, the same side as the heart, to signify the importance of the degree.

Caps/gowns will be distributed to candidates during Rehearsal.  For those unable to attend Rehearsal, caps/gowns will be provided at the line-up, the day of Commencement at Geyer Hall.  Bags containing academic regalia should be carried carefully to avoid graduation tassels from falling out of the bag.  Graduates may also want to use a cool iron on their gown, as it will be wrinkled when taking it out of the bag.

Academic regalia are ordered based on responses provided on the Graduation Application.  There is no charge for caps/gowns.

Graduate Colors
Gold stoles and/or gold tassels signify members of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.
Royal blue stoles signify members of Alpha Beta Gamma, an international business honor society.
Double white cords signify graduates of the Level II Associate Degree Nursing program.
Single white cords signify graduates of the Level I Practical Nursing program.
Blue and blue/gold cords signify those who have earned an FFA American Farmer Degree.


Faculty/Administration Academic Dress
The academic dress worn by faculty and administration originates in the clerical robes worn by students and teachers at the earliest medieval universities. American colleges and universities adopted a code of academic dress based on these robes in 1895 that included regulating the cut and style of the gowns and prescribing colors to represent the different fields of learning. The code, which has since been updated and revised, is recommended for use by U.S. colleges and universities.

The design of caps and gowns is determined by the following:
Level of degree earned (bachelors, masters or doctorate)
The level of the degree earned is reflected in the design of the gown – how full it is, whether or not it has trim on the sleeves, and the design of the sleeves.
The gown for the bachelors degree, designed to be worn open or closed, has pointed sleeves.
The gown for the masters degree, which can be worn open or closed, has an oblong sleeve.
The doctor's degree gown can be worn open or closed and has bell-shaped sleeves with three bars of velvet across the sleeves.

Institution Granting the Degree
The institution is reflected in the hoods for advanced degrees. The backs of the hoods are lined with silk showing the colors of the institution granting the degree, or the institution with which the wearer is connected. The color of the tassel on the cap and of the velvet edging of the hood, carried forward around the throat, indicates the division of the university.


American Academic Costume
The regalia worn in American academic ceremonies today evolved from the
everyday attire of students and faculty in universities of northern Europe during
the Middle Ages. It developed out of a combination of ecclesiastical, judicial and
ordinary civilian dress of the times.

In the United States, the square mortarboard is the most common head covering
and has its origin in judicial caps, as well as the square bonnets worn by scholars
at the University of Paris. Soft bonnets or tams, of various shapes, are worn by
degree holders from most European universities but are now gaining popularity.

The use of different designs of robes to signify the various degree levels
dates back to the 14th century; the most elaborate design has always been for the
highest degree. In the past twenty years, more and more American universities
have adopted unique designs, often in the school’s colors, for those granted doctoral
degrees. The velvet trim down the front and in bars on the sleeves of doctoral
gowns indicate the scholarly field of the degree held by the wearer and are of the
same color as the border of the hood. A person holding the Doctor of Philosophy
degree will have velvet trim in dark blue, rather than that of the particular field in
which the academic study has been done. Black velvet is not associated with any
academic area but is an option if the robe is black.

The hood originally was a head-covering worn for protection during
inclement weather but otherwise dropped onto one’s shoulders. Although originally
worn by both students and faculty, by the 16th century hoods were worn only by
degree holders. The silk lining of the hood has colors and a design unique to the
college or university that has granted the degree. The velvet border of both masters
and doctors hoods, like the trim of the doctoral robe, indicates the scholarly field of
the degree.

The colors most often seen are:
White............ Arts and Letters Light Blue...........Education
Pink.............. Music Dark Blue............Philosophy
Drab.............. Business Administration Sage Green..........Physical Education
Copper.......... Economics Golden Yellow....Science
Russet........... Fine Arts Lemon Yellow.....Library Science
Purple........... Law Scarlet.................Theology


Intercollegiate Code for Academic Costume


Academic Regalia Videos
Meaning and mystery behind graduation attire:
Watch where you are walking!: