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Graduation is the awarding of a diploma to a student by an educational institution. It may also refer to the ceremony that is associated with it. The date of the graduation ceremony is often called graduation day. The graduation ceremony is also sometimes called: commencement, convocation or invocation.
Ceremonies for graduating students date from the first universities in Europe in the twelfth century. At that time Latin was the language of scholars. A universitas was a guild of masters (such as MAs) with licence to teach. "Degree" and "graduate" come from gradus, meaning "step". The first step was admission to a bachelor's degree. The second step was the masters step, giving the graduate admission to the universitas and license to teach. Typical dress for graduation is gown and hood, or hats adapted from the daily dress of university staff in the Middle Ages, which was in turn based on the attire worn by medieval clergy.
The tradition of wearing graduation hats in Sweden has been in place since the mid-eighteenth century. The cap is typically a white sailor hat with a black or dark blue band around it, a crown motif, and a black peak at the front. The graduation hat tradition was initially adopted by students at Uppsala University. The headgear then became popular across several other European nations as well.
Usually the ceremony and name apply to university degrees (Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees).
In a graduation ceremony at the college and university level, the presiding officer or another authorized person formally confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse, even though graduates may physically receive their diploma later at a smaller college or departmental ceremony, or simply receive their diploma through the mail.
Ceremonies often include a procession of some of the academic staff and candidates and a valediction. The academic staff will usually wear an academic dress at the ceremony, as will the trustees (if applicable) and the degree candidates. Graduates can be referred to by their year of graduation.
When a student graduates without attending the graduation ceremony, then it is called graduation in absentia .
In the United States, the completion of mandatory schooling is also referred to as graduating, even though it is substantially below degree level.
Graduations for high school, middle school, kindergartens and even for passing from one school year to the next, have been a development of recent years.[ when? ] This has received criticism, being described as "just a way of celebrating mediocrity".
In some places[ where? ], graduation parties celebrating graduation from school, college or university are popular. In a recent 2014 nationwide survey in the United States, $985 was the average amount spent on graduation parties.
The procedures and traditions surrounding academic graduation ceremonies differ around the world. Whereas in the United Kingdom a graduation usually only occurs at university level, in the United States and many other countries graduations also occur at high schools where no higher education qualifications are conferred upon the graduates. In a graduation ceremony the students wear formal academic dress, such as square academic caps and gowns that are used for such occasions.
Graduation traditions vary across universities observing different cultures.
For example, most universities in Sweden are research-oriented and may present their students with bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees covering all academic streams. Universities across the country are based through the Higher Education Ordinance. Most of the national programs provide Swedish, English, math and science among degree courses.
In Zimbabwe, graduation ceremonies are often associated with the guest of honor who most often is the ceremonial head of the institution. At state universities the president of the country officiates as chancellor and guest of honor. Every graduate of a state university in Zimbabwe can claim to have shaken the President's hand. The person most associated with graduation at those institutions is Zimbabwe's late ex-president Robert Mugabe. At other state institutions of higher learning, the vice presidents or other senior government officials may preside.
Otherwise, in countries like Argentina and Uruguay, enthusiasm prevails over moderation, as well as taking part in an authentic carnival as part of the celebration that is mostly spontaneous, anarchic, and barely planned in the middle of the streets: hundreds of graduates, familiars and friends gather in an open place, carrying alcoholic drinks, eggs, flour and other messy food; pelting it all over the graduates; whereas the party is public and open to excesses that carry the complaints of all sorts of commerce, neighbours and authorities in the zone due to the concentration of public disorder and filth that lasts until the aftermath and overwhelms the municipal services.
The square academic cap, graduate cap, cap, mortarboard or Oxford cap, is an item of academic dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre. In the UK and the US, it is commonly referred to informally in conjunction with an academic gown as a "cap and gown". It is also sometimes termed a square, trencher, or corner-cap. The adjective academical is also used.
Academic dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, mainly tertiary education, worn mainly by those who have obtained a university degree, or hold a status that entitles them to assume them. It is also known as academical dress, academicals, and, in the United States, as academic regalia.
The University of Oxford has a long tradition of academic dress, which continues to the present day.
The University of Cambridge has a long tradition of academic dress, which it traditionally refers to as academical dress. Almost every degree which is awarded by the university has its own distinct gown in addition to having its own hood. Undergraduates wear college gowns which have subtle differences enabling the wearer's college to be determined. Academic dress is worn quite often in Cambridge on formal, and sometimes informal, occasions, and there are a number of rules and customs governing when and how it is worn. Black gowns (undress) are worn at less formal events, while on special days full academical dress is worn, consisting of gown, hood and headdress with Doctors in festal dress. The university's officials also have ancient forms of academic dress, unique to the university.
The academic dress prescribed by the University of Bristol is a mixture of that prescribed by Cambridge and Oxford. Bristol has chosen, for graduates, to mainly specify Oxford-style gowns and Cambridge-style hoods. Unlike many British universities, the hood itself is to be "University red", lined with a specified colour. University red is defined to be Pantone 187. Bristol also specifies that undergraduates are to wear gowns "of the approved pattern" in certain circumstances, although the pattern itself is not specified. This is not too important since, in practice, undergraduates are only required to be gowned when graduating or at dinner as a member of Wills Hall.
Academic dress at the University of St Andrews involves students wearing distinctive academic gowns whilst studying at the University of St Andrews. Undergraduate gowns in Scotland were once common at all the ancient universities of Scotland, with each having its own distinctive style. St Andrews undergraduates wear either a scarlet gown if they are part of the United College and studying in the Faculties of Arts, Medicine and Science, or a black gown if they are part of St Mary's College and studying in the Faculty of Divinity.
As the oldest college in the United States, Harvard University has a long tradition of academic dress. Harvard gown facings bear crow's-feet emblems near the yoke, a symbol unique to Harvard, made from flat braid in colours distinctive of the wearer's qualification or degree. Crow's-feet are double for earned degrees, and triple for honorary degrees.
The University of Leeds, like other universities in the United Kingdom and many other countries throughout the world, has its own unique system of academic and ceremonial dress for undergraduates, graduates and senior officials. As at most other universities, graduands will wear the gown, hood and hat appropriate to the degree they are about to receive. All of the graduates' hoods incorporate one or more shades of green, and the Doctors of Philosophy, Education and Clinical Psychology are unique in the UK in having a green full-dress gown.
Academic dress prescribed at the University of Dublin and its sole constituent college, Trinity College, follows a relatively complex protocol which, nonetheless, shares some particular characteristics with other universities in Ireland and with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is the second largest public research university in Zimbabwe, located in Bulawayo. It was established in 1991. On 8 April 1991, NUST opened for the first time with 270 students in three faculties. The number of academic staff was 28.
Academic dress of the University of Manchester describes the gowns, hoods and headwear which are prescribed by the university for its graduates and officers.
The academic dress of the United Kingdom and Ireland has a long history and has influenced the academic dress of America and beyond. The academic square cap was invented in the UK as well as the hood which developed from the lay dress of the medieval period.
Academic regalia in the United States has a history going back to the colonial colleges era. It has been most influenced by the academic dress traditions of Europe. There is an Inter-Collegiate Code that sets out a detailed uniform scheme of academic regalia that is voluntarily followed by many, though not all institutions entirely adhere to it.
The academic regalia of Stanford University describes the robes, gowns, and hoods which are prescribed by the university for its graduates. Stanford University was founded in 1891 and academic dress has been a part of academic life at the school since at least 1899. As in most American universities, the academic dress found at Stanford is derived from that of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which was a development of academic and clerical dress common throughout the medieval universities of Europe. Today, also in common with most American universities, academic regalia is commonly seen only at graduation ceremonies. For most of its academic dress, Stanford follows the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume which was devised in 1895 and sets out a detailed uniform scheme of academic regalia. Stanford does make use of a distinct robe for its PhD graduates which is unique among American institutions of higher education in being based specifically on the doctoral robes of the University of Cambridge.
The procedures and traditions surrounding academic graduation ceremonies differ around the world.
The academic dress of McGill University describes the caps, gowns and hoods which are prescribed by the university for its degree candidates/holders. Until the mid-20th century, McGill also prescribed academic dress for its matriculating or enrolled students as well as its faculty. Founded in 1821, McGill University is consistently ranked as one of Canada's preeminent universities, and among the top 20 universities in the world.
The academic dress of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand is a long-sleeved gown made from light mesh, faced and bordered with a specially designed felt strip. The same strip is also attached to elbows and wrists. The gown itself is adapted from the ceremonial attire called khrui, traditionally worn by government executives and peers to reflect their status. The gown and the academic badge were devised during Prajadhipok's reign.
Academic dress of King's College London describes the robes, gowns, and hoods worn by undergraduates, graduates and associates of King's College London. After being vested the power to award its own degrees from the University of London in 2006, graduates began wearing King's College London academic dress in 2008.
The academic dress of the University of Tasmania describes the formal attire of robes, gowns and hoods prescribed by the ordinance of academic dress of the University of Tasmania. The ordinance prescribes the Oxford style for the gowns and hoods for both undergraduate and postgraduate academic dress.
The academic regalia of Columbia University are the robes, gowns, and hoods which are prescribed by the university for its graduates. As one of the oldest universities in the United States, Columbia University has a long tradition of academic dress dating back to its founding in the 18th century, when it became the second university in the country to formally adopt academic robes. The development of Columbia's academic regalia has strongly influenced those of most universities in the United States. Since the passing of the Intercollegiate Code of Academic Costume in 1895, the style of academic dress worn at the university in the late 20th century has served as the basis of those of most other universities in the country. Though once worn daily by students at the university, caps and gowns now are only worn during commencement.