Academic and University Symbols

Academic Regalia

American academic regalia developed from English traditions that originated at Oxford and Cambridge universities. By the twentieth century, institutions of higher learning in the United States had adopted a well-defined system of academic regalia that identifies the different academic degrees by distinctive gowns, hoods and colors.

The baccalaureate gown is identified by long, pleated front panels and long, pointed sleeves. The master’s gown has a very long sleeve with an opening in the front. Doctoral gowns are distinguished by velvet panels around the neck and down the front. Three horizontal velvet bars of black or the color representing the appropriate degree also mark the sleeves of the doctoral gown.

Caps or mortarboards eventually replaced the hood as headwear. The cap is the Oxford mortarboard shape. It is of black cloth; the doctoral cap may be made of velvet. A tassel is of the color assigned to the academic field. Traditionally, the undergraduate moves the tassel from the right to the left side of the cap after receiving the baccalaureate degree.

In America, the hood is the most colorful feature of academic regalia. The master’s hood is comparatively short, while the doctor’s reaches far down the wearer’s back. The outside of the hood is black, bordered with a band of velvet in the color representing the degree received.

The colors in the lining of the hood identify the institution awarding the degree. Texas Woman’s University’s colors are maroon and white. The edging of velvet on the hood indicates the degree received:

Trim ColorDegree Received
White Master of Arts (MA)
Drab Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Light Blue Master of Education (MEd)
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Brown Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Kelly Green Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Master of Health Systems Management (MHSM)
Lemon Master of Library Science (MLS)
Sage Green Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Gold Master of Science (M.S.)
Specialist in School Psychology (SSP)
Blue Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Apricot Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Teal Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

TWU Custom Regalia

Texas Woman’s University premiered new regalia at the December 2013 commencement ceremonies.

The traditional black doctoral robes feature the rich university maroon velvet front panels and sleeve chevrons trimmed in metallic gold braid. The TWU seal adorns the left front of the robe. The doctoral robe is worn with the eight-sided black tam and gold tassel with hood colors in velvet reflecting degree received combined with the university’s school color in the satin lining.

The custom master’s gown is trimmed with maroon cuffs on the sleeve. The left side of the gown includes an embroidered tab with the TWU seal. The master’s hood includes the specific degree by color of velvet with maroon satin in the hood lining. A maroon and white tassel with custom seal signet is attached to the four-sided mortarboard.

The custom baccalaureate gown is trimmed with a maroon cuff on the sleeve. The TWU letters and Oak Leaf Chain are embroidered on the cuff. The Oak Leaf Chain represents the tradition of seniors’ last walk through campus holding an oak leaf chain symbolizing passing down of strength, knowledge and traditions of the university. A maroon and white tassel with custom seal signet is attached to the four-sided mortarboard.

The Seal of the University

The official seal of Texas Woman’s University is used on all formal documents, such as the degrees awarded by the institution. The seal appears on the academic banners for the colleges of the university that adorn the commencement platform. The design of the seal incorporates the star, which represents the State of Texas and the university motto, Scientia Lumen Vitae, which means “Knowledge Illumines Life.”

The Mace of the University

Designed and handmade in 1977 by Alfred E. Green, associate professor of art, the mace is a symbol of the spirit and nature of the university. It finds its origins in the pageantry of the thirteenth century. The mace comprises a staff of rare vermillion wood topped with a silver sphere banded by ivory. The silver sphere is repeated at the base; a gold seal of the university is imbedded in the shaft. The mace is carried at all formal university ceremonies, such as Commencement.

The President’s Medallion

The medallion worn by the Chancellor and President bears the seal of the university on its face and the names and years in office of the twelve Presidents on the reverse. Encircling the Presidents’ names are the four names by which Texas Woman’s University has been known since the founding in 1901. In 2003, Professor Ingrid Psuty, M.F.A., of the School of Visual Arts (UNT) designed and fashioned the medallion and chain of fine silver and burgundy enamel.