Academic Costume

Academic Costume

The pageantry and color of Lawrence Technological University’s Commencement Exercises reveal the academic achievements of participating students, faculty, administration, and guests. Gowns, hoods, head coverings, and even tassels provide a convenient way of determining academic degrees and the institution that granted them. Most of today’s academic costumes were standardized in 1895 by the Intercollegiate Commission, a group of leading American educators.

There are three types of gowns. Those worn by the Bachelors have long pointed sleeves. Gowns worn by Masters have oblong sleeves. Neither gown has any trimmings. Doctors’ gowns are trimmed on the front with velvet. Each sleeve has three velvet bars which may vary in color, depending upon the type of doctoral degree.

Hoods are made of material identical to the gown and are lined in the academic color or colors of the institution conferring the degree. Colors of the velvet edging indicate the general subject of the degree.

Caps come in several versions – usually square-topped, including the flat mortarboard and the soft fabric cap. A tassel is usually fastened to the middle of the cap’s top. Lawrence Tech’s Bachelor graduates may move the tassel from right to left upon receipt of their degrees.

Colors of edging of hoods, of tassels, and trim on academic costumes normally have the following significance: persons wearing white have studied the arts, letters, or humanities. Theologians wear red. Philosophy is signified by blue – the color of wisdom and truth – thus persons who hold the PhD often have blue on their hoods. Other colors include: engineering, orange; science, golden yellow; economics, copper; education, light blue; architecture, blue violet; fine arts, brown; journalism, crimson; library science, lemon; oratory, silver gray; commerce, accountancy, business, and industrial management, olive drab; and law, purple.

Members of several of the national honor societies having chapters at Lawrence Tech have elected to wear honor cords or stoles.

To honor our veterans of the Armed Forces, Lawrence Tech provides a commemorative pin to all eligible graduates at the Grad Fair that can be worn at Commencement.



Commencement is a time of communal celebration in which the university comes together to celebrate the graduating students’ momentous achievement.  When thinking about adornments, such as cords, please keep in mind that cords are traditionally reserved for those receiving institutional honors, while items such as stoles are sometimes worn to express a student’s participation in an organization (such as a sorority or fraternity).  We encourage student organizations to exercise restraint when selecting adornments, out of consideration both for fellow graduates and guests at the ceremony. 

Diploma Honors

A number of graduates have distinguished themselves through superior academic achievement. Three levels of academic achievement are noted. Cum Laude (honors) recognizes students receiving a minimum 3.25 GPA. Magna Cum Laude (high honors) recognizes students receiving a minimum 3.50 GPA. Summa Cum Laude (highest honors) recognizes students receiving a minimum of 3.75 GPA. “With Distinction” recognizes academic achievement in the master’s degree program in the College of Architecture and Design.

Honors are finalized upon assessment of academic performance during the final semester and are inscribed on the diplomas and transcripts of eligible students.

For information on honors cited at Commencement click here

Graduates who have completed the Honors Program and Quest projects are also recognized.


The Lawrence Tech Song

The opening selection for the Recessional, Lawrence Tech’s fight song, Dear Old LTU, dates to 1932, the year the University was founded. H. O’Reilly Clint wrote the words and music. Clint (1900 – 61) was a composer, songwriter, and author whose work also includes My Michigan, adopted by concurrent resolution of the Michigan House and Senate in 1937 as the state’s official song.

For decades, particularly when the University was a regional (and in basketball, a national) athletic powerhouse, the song was performed by Lawrence Tech band members at nearly all games, assemblies, convocations, and other events.

In 1978 it was revived as the Recessional and has been played at the close of every Commencement since.

Dear Old LTU
Tho’ time divides us all
We shall never prove untrue
No matter what the call
Our loyalty we pledge to you
Rah! Rah! Rah! 

Dear old LTU
We love the Blue and White you’re flying
Through the years to you
‘Twill ever tell of love undying
And in the class or on the field
We’ll bring you honor, victory
All hail to you
Our alma mater LTU
Rah! Rah! Rah!