What’s up with the funny clothes?
On Convocation Day, you will wear a gown, a v-stole and a mortarboard cap when you walk across the stage and accept your credential. These elements of academic dress connect you to a tradition that began hundreds of years ago in England, at universities like Oxford and Cambridge.
Gowns are the basic element of academic dress. At Yukon College, we use blue gowns for our Grads. On top of that, you wear a v-stole. This v-shaped garment has two pointed ends; one points down your back and one down your front; it should sit snug up against the collar of your gown.
You’ll also wear the cap, a mortarboard-shaped hat with a tassel. Graduates traditionally toss the cap in the air at the end of the convocation ceremony. The cap is yours to keep; it has a charm attached to the tassel with the year of your graduation.
You will see a number of Yukon College faculty also wearing their colourful gowns, hoods and caps.
Gowns are generally black, except for doctoral gowns, which have coloured velvet bands on the sleeves and down the front of the gown. Bachelor’s gowns have bell-shaped sleeves and Master’s gowns have long sleeves closed at the end, with the arm passing through a slit above the elbow.
A hood is an often bright and decorative garment worn only on special occasions, and isn’t actually worn on your head. It drapes over your shoulders and down your back. The design, colour and style of the hood communicate a lot of information: the length of the hood and the width of its velvet trim indicate the academic achievement (bachelor’s degree, master’s or doctoral); the colour of the trim indicates the discipline/field in which the degree is held; and the lining of hoods represents the particular institution from which the degree was earned. So, if you know what you’re looking for, you can determine which university a person graduated from, with which degree and in which field, just by looking at their clothes!
We don’t use hoods for Yukon College programs, although you will see students graduating from Yukon College partner programs with University of Regina being “hooded” as part of the ceremony.
The academic cap, known as the mortarboard, has come to be symbolic of academia. It is a flat square hat with a tassel suspended from a button in the top center of the board. The tassel comprises a cluster of silk threads which are fixed together and fastened by a button at one end, and fixed at the centre of the headpiece. The loose strands are allowed to fall freely over the board edge, typically falling over the left front side of the cap. In many universities, holders of doctorates wear a soft rounded headpiece known as a Tudor bonnet or tam, rather than a cap.