Procession is one of the few remaining occasions for which the
faculty of American colleges and universities still wear formal
regalia. Participants in Wellesley's Commencement Procession
reflect the colors, chevrons, velvets, and wools of diverse degrees
earned here and abroad.
the most readily identified of American regalia is the crimson
robe bedecked with three black velvet stripes on the sleeve,
denoting the doctoral degree of Harvard University. Although
most American universities observe the traditional black robe,
distinguishing among levels of education by the cut of the robe
and the colors on the hood trim, Harvard is one of a number of
institutions permitting colored robes (others include Yale, Brown,
Boston, and Johns Hopkins Universities).
the audience will observe, among others, a burgundy robe with
blue satin panels and a hood, which signifies Southampton University.
Another colorful robe, this time bright red with royal blue sleeves,
will be seen on a doctor of Political Science from Oxford University.
The hood, also red, identifies the university, while the blue
silk interior denotes the academic field. The wearer of this
robe has lightly suggested that rather than bearing any medieval
significance, the red of the robe might be the result of some
London tailor's having been in possession of a surplus yardage
of red wool.
Trustees, one can note a gold robe draped with black panels and
three black doctoral stripes. A hood trimmed in green, signifying
the degree of Medicine, and lined with gold and black is draped
at the back; the whole garment completed by a soft black cap
with a gold tassel. Gold is the signifying robe of Johns Hopkins
reflect degrees earned in the United States and are prescribed
by the American Council of Education; the present form was adopted
in 1932 and revised in 1959.
to this form, observed by most members of the Wellesley College
faculty as degree recipients from American universities, the
bachelor's gown is plain with long pointed sleeves. The master's
gown is slightly fuller in cut and has long oblong sleeves open
at the wrist with an arc cut in the front. The doctor's gown
is still fuller with bell shaped sleeves. It is faced down the
front with black velvet and has three bars of black velvet on
the sleeve, although the velvet and bars may be in the color
representing the bearer's academic field, as in the British system.
the most distinctive part of the American academic dress. The
exterior of the hood is black, its length is three feet for the
bachelor's degree, three and one-half feet for the master's degree,
and four feet for the doctor's degree. Hoods are lined with the
official colors of the college or university conferring the degree,
and the trimming is velvet, reflecting the color of the bearer's
academic purposes, including trimming of the doctor's gown and
edging of hoods, the color indicating the Fields of Learning
are: Art, Letters, Humanities - White; Economics - Copper; Education
- Light Blue; Fine Arts - Brown; Music - Pink; Philosophy - Dark
Blue; Physical Education - Sage Green; Science - Golden Yellow;
Theology - Scarlet.
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