A brief history

A brief history

The University of Wollongong's graduation ceremony celebrates 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 reminiscent of 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 of Wollongong has chosen 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 Deputy Chancellor, Dr Elizabeth Magassy or the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE. 

Chancellor of the University, Ms Jillian Broadbent AO with a former guest speaker,
Dr Terry Cutler, Principal Cutler and Company

The University was founded in 1951 when the New South Wales University of Technology established a division at Wollongong. Ten years later the division became a College of the University of New South Wales. In 1975, the University of Wollongong (UOW) became an autonomous institution, and in 1982 it amalgamated with the adjoining Wollongong Institute of Education (which had been founded in 1962 as the Wollongong Teachers' College). Since its foundation, the University has awarded more than 140,000 degrees and diplomas.

Last reviewed: 13 August, 2018