Students graduating later this year will walk wearing a new graduation gown. The main aesthetic change to the gown is the addition of a golden strip running down the middle with blue chevrons on the sleeves for Ph.D. students.
The new gowns intended for Ph.D. students are thicker and longer lasting. Fabric in the new gowns for undergraduates and master’s students will remain the same but will include Tech’s seal on each breast.
“Over the years, we have had alumni now in graduate school who want commencement regalia’s that look nice, because… if you’re in academia and if you’re a professor, you have to go to more commencement ceremonies,” said Aaron Fowler, graduate student body president, regarding the gown change. “And if you go and look at our [peer] institutions: MIT, Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, they all have institute specific Ph.D. regalia, so I really don’t think we’re off base in moving into this direction.”
There is a concern, however, on the cost of the new gowns. The price increase for the undergraduates and master’s students’ gowns is slight, but Ph.D. students are looking at a possible price tag of $400. There is also a rental option is only open for PhD students, and it will cost them $100.
“The Ph.D. gown [cost]… is definitely something we’re considering…. We want to make sure that one, the gown is affordable to students who want it and two, if the cost is too much then there is the rental option of making it affordable,” Fowler said.
Some students, however, feel differently. “Yeah, I like the color of the new gowns. I think the silk texture feels great. It’s just that the price is so darn high,” said Amanda Ousley, CHEM grad student.
Tech itself does not face any cost for switching gowns. However, it will potentially have to stock up on new gowns to replace the stock of reserve gowns for professors that do not have their own.
“It is up to [the Institute] to decide whether or not they’re going to buy the regalia to replace the ones they currently own,” Fowler said.
Students will not be able to wear the old graduation gowns once Tech adopts the new gown designs.
For the Ph.D. regalia, Fowler and his executive board in the student government will approve the design.
Students interested in viewing the new gown designs can see them at Burdell’s where the gowns are on display.