Commencement attire changes for Class of 2011

For this year’s commencement ceremony, students graduating will wear stoles of gratitude with their gowns instead of the traditional hoods, Mary Kirk Rawn, associate provost for academic services and events and co-chair of the commencement committee, said.

Rawn called the switch from hoods to stoles the beginning of a “new tradition” for Seton Hall baccalaureate degree candidates.

“These stoles may be kept as a personal keepsake, or may be given after graduation to a special person, such as a parent or grandparent, who has helped the student achieve the goal of earning a degree,” Rawn said.

In addition, students have been informed that they must wear their honor cords under the stoles, a garment worn like a shawl, when in previous years the cords were just worn on top of the gowns as there were no stoles.

This change has some seniors concerned over whether anyone will be able to see their cords at the commencement ceremony.

“I really think it’s a disservice to have the cords under the stoles,” senior Kerry Magro said. “I have around 10 cords which are symbols for different experiences I’ve had at SHU. To have them displayed under the stoles takes away from the full graduation experience.”

Senior David Pagliaro agreed, saying, “I think the idea of wearing the honor cords under the ‘stole of gratitude’ is not the best idea Seton Hall has ever had.” He added that, “People are proud of their accomplishments and they want to show those accomplishments to their family and friends in attendance; they should not have to hide these accomplishments under a stole as if it were something to be ashamed of.”

Rawn said, though, that even under the stole the seniors’ cords will be visible.

“Students will be able to display their honor cords, and are encouraged to do so,” Rawn said, adding, “However, the stole must be worn on top of the cords. The cords will still be able to be seen, but the stole should be on top of them.”

Rawn added that graduates will be wearing Seton Hall blue gowns again this year, a change made to the ceremony last year for the final commencement with Msgr. Robert Sheeran as university president.

Prior to 2010, graduates wore black gowns.

According to Rawn, senior class officers also serve on the commencement committee (in addition to administration and faculty members) and have given the committee information about events the seniors are planning in order to help with commencement plans.

“The commencement committee works collaboratively every year to assure that all aspects of commencement and commencement-related events are addressed,” Rawn said.

Other students expressed dissatisfaction but declined to comment due to positions they hold within the University.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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