A Brief History
The University of Wollongong's graduation ceremony enshrines centuries of tradition, which date back to medieval times. Like all rites of passage, it involves special dress, speeches, music, certificates and family celebration.
The gowns worn by graduates are fashioned after the dress of the medieval clergy, who at the time held a virtual monopoly on learning and the granting of licences to teach. The University has chosen royal blue gowns for all its graduates. The hoods, originally a useful head cover, are now worn over the shoulders and are lined with different coloured silks and trims. Since 1600 a graduates hood colour has denoted her or his university and degree. The headwear worn by graduates dates back to 17th century Oxford and Cambridge: degree graduates wear blue, tasselled trenchers or mortar boards while doctoral graduates wear black, velvet Tudor bonnets with coloured tassels.
The Academic Procession on its way to the University Hall
The ceremony is presided over by the Chancellor of the University, Ms Jillian Broadbent AO. The Chancellor's words to the graduating students, "In the name of the Council and by my authority as Chancellor I admit you to the degrees for which you have qualified", is based on the Latin form used in the Middle Ages.
All those who have fulfilled the requirements of a degree are called graduands until the moment their degree is conferred. This is known as 'capping', and it is from this point that you have graduated and are thereafter referred to as a graduate of the University.
Members of the public at the graduation ceremony act as witnesses to official proceedings.
Chancellor of the University, Ms Jiliian Broadbent, AO with guest speaker,
Dr Terry Cutler, Principal Cutler and Company
The first Wollongong degrees were conferred by the University of New South Wales, which offered courses at Wollongong from 1951. The Wollongong University College, established in 1962, became the independent University of Wollongong in 1975. Since its foundation, the University has awarded over 100,000 degrees and diplomas.