UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO

UI FACULTY-STAFF HANDBOOK

CHAPTER FOUR: 4990

ACADEMIC POLICIES AND REGULATIONS

July 2000

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4990

ACADEMIC REGALIA

PREAMBLE: This section outlines the history and use of academic regalia and the history of UI's special regalia, the mace and the medallion. The section was added to the Handbook, courtesy in part of the University of Washington's Handbook, in June of 1988 and has remained essentially unchanged. Unless otherwise noted, the text is as of July 1996. For further information contact the Office of the Faculty Secretary (208-885-6151). [ed. 7-97, 7-00]

CONTENTS:

A. Origin

B. The Gown

C. The Cap

D. The Hood

E. The Mace

F. The Medallion

G. Honor Cords

H. Academic Costume Now Worn Infrequently

I. Illustration

 

A. ORIGIN. The colorful and distinctive garb conspicuous at commencement ceremonies had its origin in the High Middle Ages, 12th and 13th centuries, when the university itself came into being. The nascent universities grew up in the shadow of the church--they obtained papal charters, most of the knowledge they disseminated was theological or ecclesiastical, and their scholars and pupils were largely clerks, i.e., clerics or aspiring clerics. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the cap, gown, and hood grew out of the clerical dress of that period.

B. THE GOWN.

C. THE CAP. In comparison to the gown, the mortarboard is relatively young. It descends from a favorite headdress of the medieval laity, the pileus, a close-fitting felt cap that was adopted by the Church in 1311 and became typical at the universities.

D. THE HOOD.

E. THE MACE.

F. THE MEDALLION. UI's medallion (see figure 3 on page 5) was created by Idaho artists George and Macky Roberts. Its base is a three-and-a-half-inch disc of pure Idaho silver. Mounted on the base is a disc of native jasper, and on that is a sterling silver sunburst. Inside the sunburst is a modification of the Chinese character meaning "mountain," which features three upward-pointing prongs. Over the center prong is a gold inlay--thus symbolizing "Light on the Mountain." The heavy medallion is worn suspended from a collar woven of Idaho wool, some of which is dyed with dahlia flowers to match the jasper and some of which is from a black sheep; between wearings it is kept in a cedar box. It was first used in 1965 at the inauguration of Ernest Hartung, UI's 12th president, and is now a regular element of the president's academic attire.

G. HONOR CORDS. Reminiscent of the cleric's stole, UI students graduating with honors wear colored cords around the neck and hanging loosely down the front. The gold cord identifies those graduating summa cum laude (with highest distinction); silver, magna cum laude (with great distinction); and bronze, cum laude (with distinction). The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi provides these cords. Students wear honor cords only at the commencement at which the honors are awarded; the cords are not a permanent part of their academic regalia.

H. ACADEMIC COSTUME NOW WORN INFREQUENTLY.