UT Commencement 2002  

UT Custom Doctoral Regalia

New doctoral robe design

The variety of colors and styles of doctoral regalia seen in the faculty procession are a reflection of the diverse educational backgrounds of its members. Many universities have found that distinctive doctoral robes foster greater identity and esprit de corps among graduates. The regalia worn by President Faulkner are the prototype of custom regalia being developed for doctoral graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. The robe, hood, and tam were designed and fabricated by talented members of the UT community.

Designed by award-winning costume designer, Susan Tsu, the David Bruton, Jr. Regents Professor of Fine Arts, in the Department of Theatre and Dance, the body of the hand-crafted gown is made of custom-dyed silk bordered by rayon velvet with gold boullion trim and twisted braid. The hood contains rayon velvet, silk satin and faille, as well as twisted braid. The tam is made of rayon velvet with a gold boullion tassle and twisted braid. Draper Kathy Lang, now retired from the Performing Arts Center, constructed the regalia. Former graduate student, Kenneth Chu, is now with the New York firm where the fabric was dyed, and former undergraduate student, Marit Aagaard, fulfilled the role of milliner in constructing the tam.

The last-remaining design element -- incorporating academic discipline color in the regalia to represent the doctoral degree awarded -- is close to completion. Once finalized, the process of making the regalia available commercially for purchase by doctoral graduates will go forward. For those who prefer, the traditional black robe will continue to be available as an option. Doctoral graduates who wear the new custom regalia in academic ceremonies in this nation and abroad, will serve as distinctive representatives of The University of Texas at Austin in the world's finest academies and halls of learning.

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20 August 2002
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