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 faculty regalia — explaining why they wear what they wear.
Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold
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.
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
Details: 1) He wears a six-sided tam with tassel. 2) His hood is blue and maize.
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
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.
Kaye Husbands Fealing
Dean and Ivan Allen Chair, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
Ph.D., Economics • Harvard University • School Colors: Crimson
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.
Dean and John Portman Chair, College of Design
Ph.D., Urban and Regional Planning • University of Wisconsin-Madison • School Colors: Cardinal and white
Details: 1) She wears a traditional gown with a tam. 2) Her hood is cardinal and white for Wisconsin, and the sparkly shoes are white and gold for Georgia Tech. 3) She wears a Wisconsin pin and vintage Yellow Jacket earrings.
Dean, Scheller College of Business
Ph.D., Information Systems • The Ohio State University • School colors: Scarlet and gray
Details: 1) Her hood is scarlet and gray. 2) She wears a six-sided tam with a gold tassel.
Dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair, College of Sciences
Ph.D., Ocean Sciences • University of Washington • School Colors: Purple and gold
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.
Dean and Southern Company Chair, College of Engineering
Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold
Details: 1) The lapels, sleeve bars, and part of the hood are navy velvet. (2) He wears a navy velvet tam with a gold tassel.
Dean of Libraries
Ph.D., History and Sociology of Technology and Science • Georgia Institute of Technology • School Colors: White and gold
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.
Dean, Professional Education
Ph.D., Civil Engineering • Carnegie Mellon University • School Colors: Carnegie red, black, steel gray, and iron gray
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.
Details: 1) Undergraduates wear black mortarboards with white and gold tassels, and 2) black robes that bear the Georgia Tech seal on the lapels. 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. (Below) Master’s hood colors correspond to the academic degree programs. Learn more about hood colors at Georgia Tech.
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: Allison Carter, Rob Felt, Christopher Moore
Design: Kristen Bailey, Mark Ziemer