The gowns worn by faculty, administrators and representatives of academic institutions are resplendent with color, representing scholarly achievement in many academic fields. Based upon the costumes worn at universities in the 14th and 15th centuries, today’s American academic dress was standardized in 1895. It includes the familiar square mortarboard cap, symbolizing the commitment of the scholar to a life of building. It has a tassel which may be black or an appropriate color (e.g., gold for those with a doctoral degree, purple for law).
Each degree – bachelor, master and doctor – also has its own, specific gown. The bachelor gown features a yoke with a closed front and long-pointed sleeves. The master can have either a closed or open front with long sleeves that are slit just about the elbow to allow the forearm to protrude. The doctor gown can also be worn open or closed, with full, bell-shaped sleeves. The distinguishing characteristic of the doctor gown is its trimming-velvet panels that run down the front of the garment and three velvet bars on each sleeve. While black velvet is the trimming used on all doctor’s gowns, the following colors serve to identify major areas of study:
- Purple trim: Law
- White trim: Arts and Humanities
- Yellow trim: Sciences
- Orange trim: Engineering
- Brown trim: Business
The president wears a gown and hood in the colors of his alma mater from which he was granted his highest degree. Dr. McCulloh, who received his Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University in 1998, will wear a dark blue velvet gown with full, bell-shaped sleeves.
Faculty members wear the cap and gown of their alma maters, as well. Faculty who graduated from Gonzaga University will wear [what color?] gowns with [what color?] hoods.
Gonzaga University’s trustees and regents wear [what color?] gowns with [what color?] trim.
Of the three styles of hoods, the doctor’s is naturally the most elaborate. All three hoods are made of material to match the gowns and are lined in the official color of the institution which conferred the degree, with a chevron used for a second color if needed. (Gonzaga’s colors are royal blue and white.) The colored velvet binding indicates the academic area in which the degree was received:
- White: Arts and Sciences
- Yellow: Sciences
- Brown: Business
- Purple: Law
- Dark Blue: Philosophy
- Orange: Engineering
- Light Blue: Education
- Scarlet: Theology