What day is greener than the day of Wagner commencement? Sitting on the green grassy Oval, Dr. Guarasci and honored guests swathed in green robes, hundreds of green diploma covers held high, all awash in Wagner pride: There is no greener day.
What day is bluer than the day of Wagner commencement? Marching under a cerulean sky, tears flow and hearts twist as graduates and parents and inseparable friends realize four wonderful years have come to an end: There is no bluer day.
But green and blue don’t just represent Wagner pride and emotion, grass and sky: The ceremony itself swims in literal color. In fact, the colors and costumes that lend commencement day its dignity have as rich a story to tell as do the speakers who step up to the podium.
The use of the academic costume dates back to Medieval Europe, and to this day colorful ensembles of diverse styles are commonly used abroad, where academic attire is distinctive to each university.
At American colleges and universities, by contrast, styles and colors for the academic costume were established by an intercollegiate agreement in 1895, so that the mortarboard cap and the gowns for bachelor’s and master’s candidates, and the master’s hoods, are prescribed in style.
But, here is where the color begins: Wagner master’s hoods indicate the field of study by color, and all students may wear stoles, sashes, and cords that indicate where they studied abroad, what honor societies or fraternal organizations they belong to, or other aspects of their membership in this community.
So, in this feature, let’s unpack some of the stories our graduates have to tell about their Wagner experiences, all shown in the colors they wore on this year’s biggest day on the Wagner calendar — Friday, May 22.
Credits: Story by Laura Barlament; photographs by Vinnie Amessé