With college commencement season, explore history of graduation regalia
By Meg Sullivan June 05, 2008 Category: Campus News
Ever wonder why college students move their tassels from the right to the left upon graduating? Or about the rationale behind graduation robes and all that bling — tassels, medals, sashes and fur? Here's a UCLA-produced video explainer on the history and symbolism behind graduation regalia, which go back 800 years to Europe's first universities, including colorful silk and velvet graduation hoods that reveal personal details about the graduate: Video
In addition, opportunities abound throughout UCLA's graduation weekend to shoot processions and interview faculty and graduates donning the traditional garb. The most colorful event is the Thursday, June 12, doctoral hooding ceremony, in which close to 325 UCLA Ph.D. candidates will receive brightly decorated and symbolic doctoral hoods.
Regalia experts are available separately, including a UCLA professor who has studied the tassel-turning tradition.
UCLA's doctoral hooding ceremony runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 12
5:30–6:40 p.m.: Graduates and faculty dressing in regalia
6:40–7 p.m.: Procession
7–9 p.m.: Hooding ceremony
A full schedule of other UCLA ceremonies and processions can be found at www.commencement.ucla.edu.
UCLA's main commencement ceremony takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13.
Various sites on the UCLA campus, including Royce Hall for the doctoral hooding ceremony and Pauley Pavilion for the main commencement ceremony.
Traditional graduation regalia date back eight centuries to Europe's first universities, which had links to the clergy. The regalia provide information about degrees and alma maters — for the lucky few who can "decode" them. They've also evolved over the years as universities have gotten more media savvy. Other upcoming graduation ceremonies throughout the region include: Santa Monica City College (June 10), UC Santa Barbara (June 8–15), California Institute of Technology (June 13) and Pasadena City College (June 13).
Meg Sullivan, UCLA Office of Media Relations, 310-825-1046.
Call media contact in advance to arrange parking.