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Academic Attire for Commencement

Purchasing Regalia

Regalia will be on sale at the Lesley University Bookstore starting the first week in April. If you are long distance, you may also purchase your academic attire online and have it shipped to your home via Herff Jones. (The option to order online will be available in early 2020.)


The academic attire worn at Commencement has its origins in the Middle Ages. The purpose of academic regalia is to display the academic and scholarly achievements of the wearer. From the cap, gown, and hood it is possible to distinguish the institution from which the wearer graduated, the field of learning in which his or her degree was earned, and the level of degree.

All Lesley University hoods are green and gold. For master’s degree candidates, a hood also comes with the attire package. The colors of your hood reflect your degree and program:

  • Master of Arts: White velvet trim
  • Master of Education: Light blue velvet trim
  • Master of Fine Arts: Brown velvet trim
  • Master of Science: Golden yellow trim

For undergraduates, the mortarboard hats and soft velvet tams are black. Prior to receiving the degree, the tassel is worn on the right. The graduates ceremonially turn the tassel to the left at the end of the Commencement ceremony.

Gowns are normally black, and the level of the degree is indicated by the cut of the gown. Colored doctoral gowns represent the school colors of the college or university that awarded the doctoral degree. The green gowns of the president, trustees, and honorary degree recipients represent the Lesley University colors. The president also wears the Lesley University presidential medallion.

Cords worn by graduates of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Lesley Art + Design indicate honors. Summa Cum Laude cords are gold, Magna Cum Laude cords are gold and white, and Cum Laude cords are white.  

Please note that attire cannot be returned once purchased.