The academic attire worn today - the colors, caps, gowns, hoods, and regalia of the academic procession - connect Polytechnic with centuries of international academic tradition. Gowns and hoods date to clerical garb of the Middle Ages. In the United States, universities agreed at the end of the 19th century to standardize regalia and colors to mark academic processions.
The doctoral gown is black or the color of the degree granting institution with three velvet bands around the upper sleeve and velvet panels down the front. The master's gown is distinguished by a crescent shaped hanging sleeve open at the elbow with the longest point falling from the arm. The bachelor's growth is similar, except for pointed straight sleeve.
Originally, functional as head coverings, hoods today denote the degree held by the wearer. The doctoral version, banded in color of the discipline or profession, lies open down the back of the gown. The master's and bachelor's hood end in a long point much like the sleeve treatment of the master's gown. The interiors are lined or banded with the school colors - blue and gray for Polytechnic. The outer border color of the hood signifies the field of learning to which the degree pertain. For Polytechnic, the following colors apply:
- Arts and Letters - White
- Business Administration - Drab
- Engineering - Orange
- Philosophy - Blue
- Science - Golden Yellow
Most graduates wear the black mortarboard with a tassel held by a button in the center. The tassel and button are gold for doctoral degree holders, black for others. Because different universities have distinctive hat or cap styles, the academic procession often contains both hard and soft caps, many trimmed with lace, fur or velvet. The full variety will be seen among the faculty and the platform party.
The academic procession is led and directed by marshals. The graduates process by degree, one line for undergraduate students and one line for graduate students (doctorate and master's degrees). Next come the faculty, and finally the platform party of administrators and officers of the institution, Golden Jubilee Class members, corporation members, honorary degree recipients and honored guests. The President, who bestows degrees through the Polytechnic Corporation, wears the headgear of his alma mater and a gilded medal bearing the names of each of its wearers, which is the insignia of the Polytechnic chief executive and which represents the community and legacy of Polytechnic University.
Polytechnic is governed by a corporation or board of trustees. Corporation members are typically captains of industry and outstanding civic leaders from throughout the United States and beyond. It is the corporation that is empowered to grant degrees. Corporation members appear in the academic procession as part of the platform party. Polytechnic trustees wear specifically designed caps and gowns (pearl gray with navy blue chevrons and panels).
THE POLYTECHNIC ALUMNI
The Polytechnic Alumni seeks to promote and maintain the welfare of Polytechnic and the members through the cooperation of the alumni, and to provide fellowship and manually beneficial activities among former students. There are more than 38,000 Polytechnic Alumni throughout the world. Members include all graduates as well as faculty members, recipients of honorary degrees and former students of the University. The Polytechnic Alumni is governed by officers and an international board of directors.
THE GOLDEN BOOK
Each person receiving an honorary degree is asked to sign the special Golden Book. This volume contains citations describing the honoree's accomplishment. Polytechnic granted its first honorary degree in 1930. The Golden Book is kept in the archives as part of the Polytechnic legacy.
GOLDEN JUBILEE CLASS TRADITIONS
Each year Polytechnic University specially recognizes and congratulates the members of the 50th reunion class. This year of the Class of 1952 will receive a special certificate to commemorate the distinction. The certificate is in appreciation for the support and cooperation that Polytechnic alumni have provided to the University and the Polytechnic Alumni for more than a half century.
THE UNIVERSITY FLAGS
The processional flags represent the academic areas of the institution and incorporate the traditional blue and gray colors of the University and the various disciplines. Members of the junior class with outstanding academic records have been selected to bear the flags.