Rewearing Academic Dress after Graduation

I wanted to ask about academic dress as worn by faculty at occasions in the future other than one’s own graduation. If one goes into academia, I know that it’s traditional to wear the robe and hood of the highest degree you have earned. But what about honors cords and medals? If one earned Phi Beta Kappa cords as far back as undergrad, for example, would an employed professor wear those cords with this doctoral robes when attending a graduation for his students? How about his summa cum laude cords?

I’ve never seen a professor wearing cords or medals of any type at their university’s commencement. The exception is the president, who sometimes wears a medal designating them as the college’s president. But professors usually just wear the robes, the hood, and the tam.

In fact, at my own doctoral graduation I don’t remember any doctoral recipients wearing cords or medals, either. The regalia is already elaborate enough without all the extras! (You might wear your Phi Beta Kappa pin or something, though.)

In which case, the institution probably has regulations on acceptable academic regalia for commencement ceremonies. But IME, @juillet is correct.

As someone who regularly wears academic regalia for commencements, hooding ceremonies, convocations, and so on I agree. In fact the cords and so on are really only for undergraduates, not graduate students or faculty. The exception is ceremonial medals work by Presidents and at my university, Illinois Tech, University Regents, Endowed Chairs, and Distinguished Professors. As for things like the pins, usually those are worn on normal clothing, such as jacket lapels and so on. Some examples might be Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi or AAAS Fellow pins.

I did see a professor wearing pink and blue Phi Beta Kappa cords with his doctoral robes - at the Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony. I wondered if cords from other honor societies, or xx cum laude cords, etc. ever got worn. Sounds like no.

What is standard/appropriate for one ceremony is not necessarily applicable to all.

Yes, for the specific Phi Beta Kappa initiation it makes sense but that is not a university commencement. Officially Honor Society Chapters are part of the honor Society sited at the university but not OF the university.

If I was faculty I would want to look like the other faculty, not out to show off my achievements, it’s about the students graduating that day. I would run anything extra I was thinking about with the commencement ceremony expert on regalia and custom. The only thing I can think is maybe if you were faculty and an advisor for a certain club or organization, but even then you should check. Also just a note if you are faculty, you don’t have to use the stuff you got from your graduation as a student, those gowns and their various parts are easily torn up. Faculty are supposed to order gowns intended for long term use that are made differently.

I’ve attended MANY college graduations over the past decades. I’ve never seen faculty wearing any cords. You’ll sometimes see differences in caps though.

As for the robes faculty wear - it was many years before H had an official PhD gown. Those things cost big bucks!

When the PhD students get to keep their gowns from graduation, they typically are a souvenir type gown made of thin fabric. They would either rent or buy a better gown if they participate in commencement in the future. Sometimes departments keep a gown on hand for all to share, and sometimes the families of a deceased professor give a gown to a younger faculty member.

^^^^ I think what people do is based on their situation. I do know some PhDs in academic who did buy the expensive PhD cap and gown and they wear them at the graduation ceremony of the schools they are professors at. However, for a PhD who will be doing research or something like that who will never wear the cap and gown again it may make sense to rent. I have never heard of throwaway PhD cap and gowns (but that is not to say they don’t exist somewhere).

Anyway to the OPs question, I agree that undergrad cords are not worn after the undergrad graduation ceremony. When my S got his Masters degree he wore something (I think he called it a stole) designating the honors he graduated with from that school. He did not even consider finding and wearing his undergrad honor cords.

I held off on buying my school’s gown because, as someone mentioned, they are mega-expensive - the full ensemble cost nearly $1,000 if you wanted to keep it. (The tam alone was $120, and you had to purchase that.) My decision was that if I found a faculty position somewhere I would purchase the set to wear at graduation every year, but otherwise I wouldn’t need it. I’m glad I didn’t buy it because I ended up as a researcher in industry, and have zero need for academic regalia.