Skip to content

Why do grads wear caps and gowns? The meaning behind commencement regalia

People in this story

When graduates participate in commencement on Sunday, May 7, everything they wear, from their hoods to their caps to their sleeves, will be rife with symbolism. Regalia tradition dates back over 800 years. In that time, though, some knowledge of its ceremonial significance has been lost.

Luckily, William Fowler, distinguished professor of history, emeritus, at Northeastern, who served as a commencement marshal for 35 years before his retirement in 2017, is still a keeper of that knowledge—where regalia traditions come from, what they mean, and how he saw them change in the three decades he was involved in commencement.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

More Stories

image of joe biden and donald trump

Election 2024: New poll tracker by Northeastern political scientist plots changes within pollsters

Northeastern University's Internet Democracy Initiative (IDI) hosts an Internet and Society conference at the Northeastern University London campus on Friday, May 10, 2024. Photo by Carmen Valino for Northeastern University

More researchers needed to rid the internet of harmful material, U.K. communications boss says at Northeastern conference

image of aerial view showing demolition crews working to finish removing the Fairfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 95, Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Norwalk, Conn. Crews are expected to finish removing the bridge by Sunday morning, and road repairs will be made. The tanker truck burst into flames under the overpass after colliding with two other vehicles Thursday. The cause remains under investigation.

One-third of bridges inthe United States need fixing. Here’s how to do that without wreaking havoc on supplychains and commuters

All Stories