I have to admit it, I think the gown from the University of Nottingham is one of the more notable graduation gowns to be seen. Some of my colleagues rent a gown from a rental company, but most have purchased the gown from their respective university. Some are very noticeable: the purple gowns of Northwestern, the scarlet from Loyola, and the black with trim outfits that most universities opt for. But, every year I get a dozen or so parents who ask this question: “What does all this mean?”
Many European gowns are the open look — because at one time the professors wore these to give their lectures and so had to be tolerable in warmer weather. But, the universities in Europe have chosen colors — and the scarlet is Nottingham and the aqua the Department of Theology. And that hat is just a typical European graduation cap. It is not unlike those worn by the Beefeaters at London Tower — if only I would shake it open.