Commencement Regalia

Commencement Regalia

In keeping with the dignity of the occasion, all candidates will wear traditional academic attire to the commencement ceremony. Official DSU regalia include a gown, cap, sash and tassel. These items are available for purchase through a Balfour representative or email

DSU order form
Balfour form for faculty and staff (Excel)

All candidates for graduation are responsible for securing the following items:

  • Bachelor’s degrees: Navy bachelor’s gown, cap, silver sash and a blue & silver tassel.
  • Associate’s degrees: Silver associate’s gown, cap, navy sash and a blue & silver tassel.
  • Tassels: Undergraduate candidates will wear the tassel on the right side of the cap.

Honor Cords / Distinction Tassel
Official DSU honor cords, distributed through the Office of Academic Records, are distributed to undergraduate candidates during the assembly process preceding the ceremony. Only students earning bachelor degrees may receive honor status. Students earning associate degrees with a GPA of 3.50 or higher will earn distinction and wear a gold tassel. The honor cords can be worn by undergraduate candidates who achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher in courses completed at Dickinson State University and including transfer course work at the end of the semester proceeding the graduation term.

DSU Commencement Attire Guidelines

DSU Commencement Regalia and Ornament Policy


Personalized graduation announcements custom printed with your name, degree and major may be ordered through Balfour. The new official DSU personalized graduation announcements are available online at or by calling 1-800-433-0296.

Class Rings
Class ring information is available from Balfour. Orders may be placed anytime. Please call (877) 746-4715 to order. Balfour representatives will be on campus in February and March at the Student Center to assist you with your order.

Diploma Frames

Hardwood frames embossed with Dickinson State University and the seal are available from the University Bookstore at Dickinson State University in a number of finishes and sizes for all degrees and certificates conferred by Dickinson State University. To view frame options, visit (click on BlueHawk Merchandise - Alumni Merchandise - Gifts.)

Regalia History
Academic regalia generally consist of cap, gown, and hood worn on formal occasions at institutions of higher learning. It originated in the medieval period when the vast majority of scholars were of the clergy.

The gown evolved from what most likely was the cape of the clergy. The gown was originally black, but color was introduced as institutions left ecclesiastical control.

The hood originated as the skull cap was worn by the clergy to protect their heads from the elements. The hood served as a three-fold purpose: head covering, shoulder cap and bag for alms.

King’s College, now known as Columbia University, was established in 1754 and imported many British regulations for academic dress. The end of the 19 th century found widespread use of academic dress in the United States. It is estimated that 95% of the colleges and universities abide by the intercollegiate code which overseas academic dress.

Styles and Colors
The bachelor’s gown is worn closed and is distinguished by its pointed sleeves. A master’s gown is designed to be worn closed with long, crescent-shaped sleeves. The doctor’s garb may be worn open or closed with velvet panels down the front and three bars on the round, bell-shaped sleeves. The color of the velvet may be distinctive of the field of study to which the degrees pertain.

Representative degree colors are distinguished in the following manner:

  • Arts, Letters, Humanities – White
  • Economics – Copper
  • Fine Arts – Brown
  • Library Science – Lemon
  • Nursing – Apricot
  • Public Administration – Peacock Blue
  • Social Work – Citron
  • Business – Drab
  • Education – Light Blue
  • Law – Purple
  • Music – Pink
  • Physical Education – Sage Green
  • Science – Golden Yellow
  • Theology – Scarlet

The most distinguishing feature of the academic attire is the hood. The size and shape of the hood designates not only the college degree of the wearer but also the university he or she attended. The master’s hood is three and one-half feet in length, while the doctor’s hood is rounded and measures four feet in length. Hoods are lined with the official colors of the institution conferring the degree. The binding around the hood is velvet with the color indicative of the major field of study.

Caps are normally black with most common the four-point mortarboard. Tassels are worn over the left front quarter after a degree has been conferred.

Only students earning bachelor degrees may receive honor status. Students earning associate degrees with a GPA of 3.50 or higher will earn distinction and wear a gold tassel.

The Mace 

The mace in medieval times was often carried by kings, bishops, and other officials into battle, where it was used as a weapon. Gradually, the mace came to be used more for ceremonial occasions rather than combat.

In modern times, the mace is most frequently seen in legislative chambers, as well as academic and religious processions. The mace, used in this manner, is a symbol denoting authority.

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