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Candidates for degrees and those who hold degrees, including college officials, faculty and visiting dignitaries, are attired in traditional cap and gown. The formal color for most caps and gowns is black. However, holders of different degrees wear distinctive tassels on their caps. Hoods of various hues drape down the back of the gowns representing the bearer’s field of study. The colors of the platform flags represent the academic disciplines in which the university offers majors.

Those wearing academic costumes wear caps in the academic processions and throughout the ceremony.  

Members of the university governing body are entitled to wear doctoral gowns. The NKU Board of Regents regalia is a gold gown with three black chevrons and trim and an eight-sided tam with gold tassel. This attire is distinctive of the Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University.

Today’s procession begins with many special guests and dignitaries. The Grand Marshal precedes representatives from the NKU faculty, staff, students and delegates of sister colleges and universities. The last group to enter the hall is the platform party, whose members include the Board of Regents; former presidents of NKU; the university deans and members of the President’s Cabinet; leadership members of the Council on Postsecondary Education, NKU Foundation, Faculty Senate, Staff Congress, and Alumni Board of Directors; ceremony guests and speakers; and President Cady Short-Thompson.