The Tradition of Academic Procession
The academic processional is a symbolic declaration that all members of the academic community are bound by a common purpose and shared commitment to the ideals of higher education.
The colors and the apparel worn in the processional are also symbolic, having their origins in the Middle Ages. Since universities developed from church schools, both faculty and students were regarded as part of the clergy, and wore clerical clothing based on monastic dress.
The traditional hat developed from the skull cap worn in cold weather. In Europe, a bonnet with tassel is still worn, but in America it has been replaced by the motrarboard cap or tam with tassel.
The bachelor’s gown has long pointed sleeves and is designed to be worn closed. The master’s gown has an oblong sleeve open at the wrist; the rear section is square cut. The early doctoral gowns were often decorated with fur; this embellishment survives today as the velvet on the gown’s front and sleeves. Graduate degree gowns may be worn open or closed. The academic hood was originally worn over the head in bad weather. It is now added to the apparel of those with master’s and doctoral degrees.
The Meaning of the Chancellor’s Medal
The Chancellor’s Medal symbolizes the history and aspirations of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. At the center of the medal is a fountain of knowledge, divided in three to reflect the school’s commitment to the realization of the creative power of individuals, the value of learning as a humanizing force and our aspiration to excellence. Learning is centered at the bottom of the medallion, serving as the foundation of the University’s mission. The stylized figure at the center of the medal also forms the school’s initials, with the outward sweeping W reflecting the Wisconsin idea, that education reaches to the boundaries of the state. At the bottom of the medal appears the date of the University’s founding, representing both our tradition and a recognition that those who have gone before us remain a vital part of what we are today.