Cap and gown

We encourage you to wear a cap and gown for the commencement ceremony. Almost all of last year’s graduates wore them. The polyester gown, cap, and tassel will be available for approximately $35 at GradFest in March. GradFest is a “no hassle for a tassel” service for U of M graduates with one-stop access to everything you need to prepare for graduation. The bookstore does not rent caps and gowns.

Commencement caps, gowns, and tassels are also for sale in the University Bookstore in Coffman Memorial Union in April.

Personalized announcements

You can order personalized College of Science and Engineering Commencement announcements at GradFest by visiting the University of Minnesota Bookstores website.

Place your order at GradFest or online in early April for guaranteed commencement delivery.

About the gown, cap, honors cord and decorative stoles

Men generally wear dark trousers and a dress shirt and tie under their gowns. Women usually wear a lightweight dress or a blouse and a skirt that is shorter than the gown so it does not hang below the robe.

The graduation cap is worn flat on the head, one point of the square facing forward (like a diamond). Cap tassels are worn on the right side at the start of the graduation ceremony and flipped to the left side at the designated time when graduates are officially conferred their degrees from the University of Minnesota Regent toward the end of the ceremony.

An honors cord is worn with the middle of the cord behind the neck with the ends of the cord hanging to the front. Gold honor cords are worn by students who are graduating with distinction, and maroon and gold honor cords are worn by students graduating with high distinction.

Decorative stoles worn around the neck represent a variety of affiliations with the University, fraternities, ethnic clubs, or professional organizations.

History of the tassel color

In the late 19th Century, the Intercollegiate Commission adopted a code of academic dress. The tassel colors chosen had traditional meanings. Science and engineering were given golden yellow and orange to signify the wealth of knowledge produced by research.