2018 Graduate Hooding Ceremony

2018 Graduate Hooding Ceremony

As we come together this evening to celebrate academic excellence, it is with great joy that on behalf of all the IU Kokomo faculty and staff that I welcome friends, family members and, of course, our graduates. To the graduates, I want to express my deep admiration for your personal commitment to excellence.  You are here this afternoon because of your perseverance and self-discipline in completing this important milestone in your lives. 

This is a special ceremony - A Hooding Ceremony - It adds to the graduation experience by making it possible for us to focus just on our advanced degree candidates and their accomplishments. It allows all of us a chance to witness the ceremonial hooding of each graduate student in a very intimate setting.

So where does the tradition of hooding originate from and what does it mean?  The origins of academic regalia are obscured in history, but are believed to have originated in the 12th and 13th centuries. When the earliest universities were forming, the dress of a scholar, whether student or teacher, was that of a cleric. Typically, the medieval scholar would have taken vows, and would have been tonsured. Long gowns were worn probably because of the unheated monasteries, where ancient texts were maintained. Hoods, and later skull caps, would have served to cover the shaved head for warmth.

The tradition of special academic dress seems to have entered the United States through King's College (now Columbia University) in New York. As late as the 1880s, different institutions established their own academic dress codes. For example, in 1886, both Yale and Harvard required their faculty to wear academic dress.   Thereafter, the custom grew so rapidly that a commission was formed to draw up an intercollegiate code of academic dress. This code, with modifications made in 1959, remains in force today.  The dress, colors, trimmings, and patterns you see are all traditional, and reflect both the degree and field of study.

The colorful hood you will receive today is reserved for those individuals who have attained academic degrees beyond the bachelor's degree.

The hoods, are lined with the official colors of the university conferring the degree. Thus the cream and crimson today and the Hoods are edged and bound with velvet of the color appropriate for the degree. For example, Yellow Brown is for Business.

So what does the hood mean?  The hood is a special part of the academic regalia that denotes your scholarly and professional achievements.

As you approach the stage to receive your hood – lots of thoughts I am sure will cross your mind.  You will remember the long hours of study, the projects and tests and the personal sacrifices you made.  Your scholarly achievements were hard fought but will serve you well. You have earned an Indiana University graduate degree – a credential that is known all over the world.

Many of you came to this campus with professional experience – now as you leave with a graduate degree, I want to challenge you to take a leadership role in your profession and in your community.  You are unique, very few hold a graduate degree. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 9 percent of the US population holds a master's degree.  We need your leadership in this complicated world – your knowledge and your critical thinking skills, not only in your profession, but in the communities where you live.  

I would like to leave you with a quote from President John F. Kennedy.  He said, “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”   Best wishes and congratulations.