AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin announces a homecoming hooding for doctoral and master’s recipients who did not attend the ceremony at the time of their graduation.
Like most historical institutions, academia is anchored by ritual. From the splendor of inaugural addresses to the secret handshakes of fraternity boys, rituals provide important resonance and gravity to life’s important milestones. Completing a doctoral degree — with its countless hours of work and awesome responsibility to create new knowledge — is one of those milestones.
Academic gowns carry a secret code to tell others the wearer’s background. For holders of UT Austin doctorates, some of the coded information lies in the orange stripes on the commodious sleeves and the orange and white satin lining of the hood. The hood is especially important because the literal “capping” of the doctoral program occurs when the hood is placed over the student’s head. At UT-Austin, the hooding of doctoral (and later master’s) students has been an integral part of graduation for decades.
UT Austin is the nation’s largest graduate school. Last year, it granted 811 doctoral degrees. Approximately 460 of those degree recipients were hooded at the May or December graduate convocation. Almost 600 of the 2,793 master’s recipients received their hoods at the May or December ceremony.
Inevitably, there were students who did not receive the hood. The diploma came in the mail, but the hooding ceremony was bypassed for other urgent reasons — the call to military service, a job in another state, a wedding or the birth of a child. Sometimes the ceremony was bypassed because ceremonies and rituals are not always as meaningful to the young as they are for those who are a little older. For all those students who did the hard work and sacrificed to receive a graduate degree, but got called away because of youth or circumstance, we invite you back to a special homecoming.
UT Austin is offering a special ceremony, a second chance to receive the master’s or doctoral hood and to enjoy the pomp of academic ritual. Please join UT President Larry Faulkner and Dean of Engineering Ben Streetman and others to formally receive your hood at 10 a.m., May 21, at Bass Concert Hall, the day before regular commencement. To sign-up for this ceremony or receive additional information, go to http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/forms/hood.html or call (512) 232-3620.