Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Noise of Solemn Assemblies

Today the inaugural Mass marking the beginning of the academic year at Catholic U. took place, the first event in which I marched in procession as a faculty member. I very much enjoy the pageantry of this sort of thing, to say nothing of the doxological aspect. I have a liking for the heraldry of the event, with all the faculty in doctoral robes from a hundred different universities, the procession of a hundred concelebrating priests, the monks and nuns, austere but distinctive in the habits of their several orders. It's like a meeting of the Justice League of America, combined with the Avengers, but holier.

Unfortunately my own finery was completely borrowed, since I do not own the UCLA regalia. The Office of the Provost made some spare robes available, and mine was a plain black thing, although with the requisite three stripes and front panels of the Philosophiae Doctor. However, I regret to say that my borrowed hood proclaimed me only a Master. I am determined by the next convocation to acquire (somehow) the attractive plumage of the over-educated Bruin. But dang: it's expensive.

Tell me, readers who are faculty — do you have your own regalia? How in the world did you afford it? And what is your favorite academic costume? Or: Who has the worst?



5 comments:

David Bailey said...

As an Episcopal cleric who sometimes wears "office apparel" (cassock, surplice, tippet and hood)I know how expensive just a hood can be. Vanity made me buy a (chemistry) doctoral hood rather than the more modest M.Div. hoodie, but so it goes . . .

David Bailey

d. miller said...

Calculate how many years you have to teach and how many times per year you will need to appear in regalia, multiply by the cost of rental, add a little in for vanity, and there you have it.

Cb said...

I was fortunate, my relatives bought me mine. With the Oxford DPhil, however, you never wear the hood at graduations, just at Evensong, etc. So as a priest I now get to wear the hood, which is disconcerting to my thoroughly protestant grandmother who bought it for me.

Also, the Oxford gown is open at the front, so I always have to wear "sub fusc" a dark suit and white tie. When living in New Orleans, this was a distinct disadvantage where my colleagues would wear shorts under their zip up gowns...

Ed said...

Thanks, I always wondered what subfusc meant.

Roger said...

The prettiest regalia are those of the Oxford Doctor of Music.
I have a Litt. D. from the University of Amsterdam, which has no degree gowns; so for all the years of my academic professional life I have worn the modest garb of an Oxford M.A.: a simple black gown with a red and black hood. And an ancient, ancient mortarboard, inherited from the first Master of my (Canadian) College.