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Benedictine University celebrates distinctive student achievement with special Baccalaureate hoods

May 5, 2015

The tradition of the Hooding Ceremony dates back to 1975 with the presentation of the Baccalaureate hood by a faculty or staff member. While the tradition of wearing distinctive regalia by members of learned societies is an ancient one, the origins of academic regalia as we know it today are believed to be rooted in monastic academies of the 12th and 13th centuries. These monasteries have often been referred to as ‘cold schools’, likely stemming from the fact that they were, literally, unheated and could often be frigid places for most months of the year.

Typically, the students and teachers in these monasteries had taken ecclesiastical vows and wore their heads shaved. Many wore hoods or skull caps as well as long robes. Just as these hooded and robed individuals became associated with their respective areas of knowledge, the general style of their dress became associated with the stewardship of knowledge and discipline.

When universities as we know them began to take shape, the clothing traditions took on more specific significance, with the regalia tradition now reflecting a milestone in the life of a student. The robe and hood traditions have evolved not only to identify the rank of study by the choice of fabric as well as the shape of the gown and length of the hood, but also to signify the course of study and academic institution by the color of the fabric.

For instance, the color of the velveteen edging of the hood – which now takes its shape as an open garment draped over the shoulders – denotes the disciplinary degree. The colors in the lining of the hood represent the college or university from which the students earned their degree.

The academic achievement signified by the hood is alive and well and proudly celebrated in the Benedictine tradition of scholarly conferral, and we are delighted to celebrate this milestone alongside our students today.

Today, as in the past, our candidates chose someone to hood them who has played an important part in their academic life. Someone that has helped them grow not only academically, but also personally.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

Marketing and Communications

Gary Kohn
Assoc. Vice President of Marketing and Communications
(630) 829-6095