OXFORD, Miss. – Starting in May 2016, University of Mississippi graduates will don custom-designed red and blue Commencement caps and gowns bearing the Lyceum logo, the first time in school history that the university has had its own custom regalia.
A university committee led by Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, studied options. They picked eye-catching navy blue gowns, complete with a Lyceum logo on the chest and double red stripes down the sides.
“They’re absolutely beautiful,” Clark said. “The Lyceum is an iconic symbol. Featured on the robe, it jumps out and brings distinction to the entire regalia.”
While they were waiting in line at Commencement 2014, university officials discussed how some universities have their own impressive custom gowns, caps and tams for graduation and it was time Ole Miss had its own. Then-Provost Morris Stocks charged Hephner LaBanc and Clark to find a custom university cap and gown for Ole Miss graduates. They put together a team to study options.
The committee settled on a design from R.M. Hendrick Graduate Supply House, a Mississippi company that has supplied UM’s regalia for years.
Stocks said he’s very pleased with the new graduation garb and excited to see it used.
“I look forward to a landscape of Ole Miss blue at our beautiful Commencement ceremony on May 14, 2016,” the acting chancellor said. “I am also excited that our Ph.D. graduates will proudly represent us wearing distinctive University of Mississippi regalia at commencement ceremonies around the world.”
The undergraduate cap and gown rental prices will remain the same for the coming year. The doctoral gowns are also available for purchase, and many doctoral students opt to buy their regalia to wear when they participate in future commencement ceremonies. With the university having its own custom regalia, it’s likely many more will opt to own it.
“I just think it builds more pride in our community and in our institution,” Hephner LaBanc said.
One side benefit of the new regalia is that it will also be much more visually appealing than the previous black robes, which the university used for much of its more-than-160-year history.
“I can’t wait until this coming May to look out and see a sea of these new caps and gowns,” Hephner LaBanc said.
Acting Provost Noel Wilkin praised Hephner LaBanc and Clark’s work to find the best option.
“Dr. Hephner LaBanc and Dr. Clark have done an outstanding job of researching and working with the campus community to design the new regalia,” Wilkin said. “We look forward to this enhancement to our Commencement ceremony. Offering our own distinctive regalia will add to the growing academic traditions of the University of Mississippi.”