Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why caps and gowns at graduation? Let’s go back 900 years. - The Washington Post

Why caps and gowns at graduation? Let’s go back 900 years. - The Washington Post:

Why caps and gowns at graduation? Let’s go back 900 years.

Actor Matt Damon, in cap and gown, gestures during his address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2016 commencement in Cambridge, Mass. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

It’s pretty clear why preschoolers and kindergartners wear caps and gowns at their “graduation” ceremonies.
Adults think it is cute to see little kids parade around like grown-ups and don’t mind spending the money to buy one of the various sets available at one of the companies that sell them. You can, for example, get the “shiny basic set” offered by Rhymeuniversity.comfor $14.95, which includes the shiny gap and gown and tassel, or the “matte deluxe package” for $25.95, which includes a cloth matte cap and gown, tassel, graduate sash, ring, diploma with matching invitation and program cover.
But why, at American high school and college graduations, are the grown-ups — the students, faculty, honorary degree recipients — wearing caps and gowns during the ceremony, often in an outside venue under a withering sun or in a stifling auditorium jammed with guests?
And why are students, many of whom have forked out many tens of thousands of dollars to get a college degree, asked to spend more to rent or purchase a cap and gown for their graduation ceremony? The cost is significant; caps and gowns for rent can cost around $100 and much more to buy. The University of Texas at Arlington, for example, has an order form online for students that includes this section:
Doctoral attire, custom-made for purchase, can cost close to $1,000. Take George Washington University, for example:
Doctoral Gown, Tam & Hood — Rental  $145.00
  Doctoral Gown — Custom Purchase  $557.60
  Doctoral Hood — Custom Purchase  $157.00
  Doctoral Tam — Custom Purchase  $108.88

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