What’s With All the Wizards?

While a certain popular movie franchise may have you thinking otherwise, the wearing of gowns, hoods and mortarboards on display during UBC’s graduation ceremonies signify the academic achievements of the wearers.

This spring graduation ceremonies at UBC’s Vancouver campus run from May 20 – May 27, 2015 and with the many levels and disciplines of degrees being conferred, it they promise to be very colourful pageants. Academic Regalia worn by graduating students evolved from clothes worn by European scholars in the Middle Ages. Hoods and gowns worn by graduates are lined with colours that indicate the degree to be conferred.  All PhD recipients will wear the bright maroon silk gown and sleeves of UBC blue with gold piping while Master’s recipients wear the same black gowns as undergraduates, but with a full coloured lining signifying the discipline of their degree.  Faculty members participating in the Convocation ceremonies typically wear the regalia of their alma mater signifying their university of graduation and highest degree awarded.

One of the most recent and interesting additions to the proceedings is the reading of Doctoral citations during the ceremony.  Along with the announcement of the name of the newly minted Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education or Doctor of Musical Arts is a brief description of the topic of their dissertation, the culminating product of their many years of research and scholarly activity. This allows those present at the ceremony to comprehend the nature of the research and appreciate its contribution to society, although they may have no specialized knowledge of the field or its technical terms. Previous graduates’ citations can be viewed on the Graduate and Posdoctoral Studies website, while the theses and dissertations presented and defended for the conferral of the degree are publically available on-line through the UBC Library Circle website.

All ceremonies take place in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and tickets must be arranged in advance.  For those who cannot attend in person, the ceremonies are shown via live webcast.

Thursday, 21 May 2015