Georgia Tech graduates and professors showing commencement regalia with a humorous mock diagram of a graduation cap

Updated Dec. 3, 2020

Academic regalia, also known as the “cap and gown,” varies according to the degree conferred and the level of scholarship attained. The bachelor’s gown is a simple robe that covers the entire body. The master’s gown has longer, closed sleeves. The doctoral robe usually is the most elaborate; it is made of velvet, has three stripes on the arms, and includes a hood.

For faculty and doctoral robes, the robe itself is usually specific to the university, while the hood trim indicates the academic discipline. In addition, the faculty member wears the robe indicative of his or her highest degree. If the highest degree is an honorary degree, the faculty member has a choice of wearing the robe of the school that conferred the honorary degree, or the one that conferred the highest earned degree. Bachelor’s and master’s candidates wear a square mortarboard. Doctoral students and faculty usually wear a tam.

In this feature we look at the details of Tech’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral regalia. We also highlight some of the faculty regalia — explaining why they wear what they wear.

Let’s commence!

text - Georgia Tech Faculty Regalia

Ángel Cabrera


Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold

ángel cabrera in regalia

Details: 1) The president wears the Institute Medallion, which bears Georgia Tech’s “Progress and Service” motto. The medallion’s chain has the initials of each of Tech’s 12 presidents. 2) The president’s traditional tam is finished off with a gold tassel. 3) Four velvet stripes adorn the sleeves of the president’s gown.

president cabrera in two different sets of regalia

The president also has traditional Spanish regalia from his other alma mater, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, where he received an honorary doctorate in 2018. The regalia has lace-covered sleeves and is worn with white gloves and a white bowtie.

Steven W. McLaughlin

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering • University of Michigan • School Colors: Blue and maize

steve mclaughlin in academic regalia

Details: 1) He wears a six-sided tam with tassel. 2) His hood is blue and maize.

Bonnie Ferri

Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold

Vice Provost Ferri in academic regalia

Details: 1) The gown’s lapels are emblazoned with the Georgia Tech seal.

Colin Potts

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology • University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
School Colors: Scarlet and forest green

Colin Potts in academic regalia

Details: 1) He chooses to wear a tam instead of a velvet mortarboard. Unlike regalia for U.S. universities, there are no bars on the sleeves of British regalia. 2) British gowns have an open front, instead of the closed front found on American regalia.

Larry Jacobs

Interim Dean, College of Engineering

Ph.D., Engineering Mechanics • Columbia University • School Colors: Columbia blue and white

larry jacobs in regalia

Details: 1) He wears a black velvet tam with a gold tassel. 2) The lapels have crowns because Columbia was established as King’s College, then renamed following the American Revolution.

Susan Lozier

Dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair, College of Sciences

Ph.D., Ocean Sciences • University of Washington • School Colors: Purple and gold

susan lozier in regalia

Details: 1) Her tam is purple velvet with a gold tassel, and her robe is purple with gold accents. 2) Dean Lozier’s initials are stitched inside her gown.

Maryam Alavi

Dean, Scheller College of Business

Ph.D., Information Systems • The Ohio State University • School colors: Scarlet and gray

Maryam Alavi in academic regalia

Details: 1) Her hood is scarlet and gray. 2) She wears a six-sided tam with a gold tassel.

Steve French

Dean, College of Design

Ph.D., City and Regional Planning • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • School Colors: Carolina blue and white

Steve French in academic regalia

Details: 1) His robe includes three traditional velvet stripes on the arms. 2) The gown’s lapels are emblazoned with the UNC motto, Lux Libertas (light and liberty). 

Kaye Husbands Fealing

Dean and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

Ph.D., Economics • Harvard University • School Colors: Crimson

kaye husbands fealing in regalia

Details: 1) The crimson gown has black velvet lapels and arm bands. 2) The color of the crow’s-foot lapel emblem represents the school granting the degree.

Charles Isbell

Dean and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair, College of Computing

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science • Massachusetts Institute of Technology • School Colors: Steel gray and cardinal

charles isbell in regalia

Details: 1) The gown is steel gray with cardinal stripes and lapels. Isbell keeps his regalia in his office year-round. 2) He wears a traditional tam.

Leslie Sharp

Dean of Libraries

Ph.D., History and Sociology of Technology and Science • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold

leslie sharp in regalia

Details: 1) She wears a six-sided tam, which is navy velvet with a gold tassel. 2) The lapels, which bear the Institute’s seal, are velvet, as are the sleeve bars.

Nelson Baker

Dean, Professional Education

Ph.D., Civil Engineering • Carnegie Mellon University • School Colors: Carnegie red, black, steel gray, and iron gray

nelson baker in regalia

Details: 1) He wears a black gown with a traditional mortar board. 2) The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan, first commissioned in 1967 for academic hoods, also serves as an official “color” for the university.

text - Georgia Tech Graduate Regalia

Congratulations to the students below — Casey Gomez, Nahom Solomon, and Iris Lu — who graduated in Spring 2019.


Casey Gomez wearing regalia for Georgia Tech bachelor's degree

Details: 1) Undergraduates wear black mortarboards with white and gold tassels, and 2) black robes that bear the Georgia Tech seal on the lapels.


Nahom Solomon wearing regalia for Georgia Tech master's graduates

Details: 1) Master’s graduates wear the same mortarboards and a similar robe to that of undergraduates, but the sleeves have an extension at the back of the wrist opening, as is customary for master’s gowns. 2) Master’s hood colors correspond to the academic degree programs.


Iris Lu wearing academic regalia for Georgia Tech doctoral degree

Details: Ph.D. graduate robes are Georgia Tech gold with navy blue accents. 1 and 2) The sleeve bars and lapels, which also bear the Institute’s seal, are velvet, as is the navy part of the hood. The hood is gold, navy, and white. 3) Ph.D. graduates wear a six-sided tam, which is navy velvet with a gold tassel.


Writer: Victor Rogers
Photographers: Rob Felt, Christopher Moore
Design: Monet Fort, Kristen Bailey

Special thanks to Spring 2019 graduates Casey Gomez, Nahom Solomon, and Iris Lu for modeling Georgia Tech's regalia.