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About Regalia

Much of American academic ceremonial apparel is derived from that worn at British universities, particularly Oxford University. When Oxford was granted a charter in 1241, its members wore clerical garb because of the close connection between the university and the church. Academic apparel for colleges and universities in America was first introduced at Williams College in 1887. The Intercollegiate Commission drafted the first uniform code in 1895.


The bachelor's gown is untrimmed, with long pointed sleeves, and is worn closed. The master's gown has long, crescent-shaped sleeves and may be worn open or closed. The doctor's gown has velvet facing down the front and three velvet bars on the bell-shaped sleeves. The velvet is either black or the color of the major field of study. For years, most gowns were black, but today most American institutions have followed the British custom of using red or college colors.


The hood is the most important and distinctive feature of the American system. It was originally intended as a head cover and shoulder cape. The color of the trim indicates the degree field; for example, orange is engineering, lavender is architecture, etc. The length of the hood and the width of the trim indicate the degree earned.

Bachelor's gowns rarely have hoods, while master's hoods are three and one-half feet long, and doctor's hoods are the longest at four feet long and having the widest trim. The color or colors of the hood lining indicate the degree-granting institution. The Illinois Institute of Technology hood lining has the school colors, a single grey chevron on a scarlet field.


Mortarboards, or "oxford caps", trace their history to the square cap with a tuft on top that was awarded to students in the Middle Ages when they completed their courses of study and were recognized as "masters". Today, caps and tassels can be black or colored to indicate the wearer's field of study.

For candidates earning their first degrees, the black tassels is worn on the right side of the cap until the degree has been conferred. Candidates for all higher degrees wear black mortarboard caps with black tassels on the left side.

The cap should be worn as near level on the head as possible. Men should remove their caps in unison with the president and the faculty during the singing of United States national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Women will always keep their caps on.

Honors Cords

Bachelor's candidates graduating with honors or distinctive scholastic achievement wear an honors cord as recognition of individual achievement. IIT presents cords to bachelor's candidates graduating with the following honors: 

Gold - summa cum laude (with highest praise)
Silver - magna cum laude (with great praise)
White - cum laude (with praise)


Candidates may wear a stole to acknowledge individual achievement or participation within an organization. The stole is worn only with the cap and gown.

Academic Colors

Master's Hoods

Architecture Violet
Business Tan
Design Brown
Education Light Blue
Engineering Orange
Information Architecture Gold (Yellow)
Psychology, Fine Arts Gold (Yellow)
Public Administration Light Blue
Science Gold (Yellow)

Ph.D. Hoods

Architecture Violet
Business Tan
Design Brown
Education Light Blue
Engineering Orange
Fine Arts Gold (Yellow)
Law Purple
Psychology Gold (Yellow)
Science  Gold (Yellow)

The Mace and University Seal

A mace is a ceremonial staff crafted from historic campus relics. It serves as a symbol of the legal and chartered authority of the president, to whom the trustees have delegated authority. In the Middle Ages, the mace was a war club carried by a bodyguard to defend a person of authority. Today, its purpose is strictly ceremonial, indicating the presence of the university leadership. The IIT mace depicts the seal of Illinois Institute of Technology.

The seal retains emblems of its founding institutions, symbolizing the rich history and depth of disciplines the university encompasses. It depicts symbols of a flame, a tree, and a book. The flame represents Armour Institute, established in 1893, and the tree represents Lewis Institute, established in 1895. The two schools merged in 1940 to form Illinois Institute of Technology. The symbol of the book represents Chicago-Kent College of Law, which was established in 1887 and merged with IIT in 1969, making IIT one of the few universities focusing on science and technology to also have a law school.

The tradition of a mace was introduced at the inauguration of IIT's eighth president, John L. Anderson.

The Presidential Robe and Medallion

Presidential RegaliaThe president's robe is based on the traditional doctoral gown, however the sleeves are trimmed with an additional velvet doctoral chevron on each sleeve.
It is traditional for the president to wear the colors of the university, therefore IIT's presidential robe is grey and trimmed with four scarlet velvet chevrons. The tam is also made of scarlet velvet with a metallic silver tassel.
The presidential medallion depicts the seal of the university, as well as the names of all past presidents of Illinois Institute of Technology. The medallion is a part of the president's regalia.