The European practice of
wearing academic regalia was introduced to the United
States during our nation's Colonial period.
Students of most of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered
before the American Revolution were required to wear the
college garment during most times.
The nine Colonial Colleges
included New College (Harvard University), The
College of William & Mary, Collegiate School (Yale
University), Academy of Philadelphia (University
of Pennsylvania), College of New Jersey (Princeton
University), King's College (Columbia University),
College of Rhode Island (Brown University),
Queen's College (Rutgers University) and
Dartmouth College. The practice lasted at many
institutions of higher education until the beginning of
the American Civil War.
Standards for academic
apparel worn at institutions in the United States were
set in 1893. These standards defined the cut,
style and fabrics to be used for academic gowns as well
as the colors used to represent the different fields of
The tradition of wearing
academic apparel at formal ceremonies expanded to the
high school level in the early 20th century. At
first, graduates wore dark caps and gowns such as
maroon, dark blue and dark green made of heavy poplin.
High school graduations today present the graduates in
caps and gowns of the school's colors.
The styles of academic
apparel continues to reflect the standards set for
American institutions over a century ago. The
introduction of new fabrics and slight design
modifications to provide comfort have contributed to the
continued popularity of this time-honored tradition.
University Cap & Gown was
one of numerous companies of its type established in the
early 1900s as the popularity of wearing the cap and
gown at graduation ceremonies increased. Only a
handful of those original companies continue in
existence today. We are proud to be one of them.