A special ceremony that many students have probably been looking forward to since becoming law students is the hooding ceremony. The hooding ceremony confers a special recognition upon those graduating, not just for law students, but anyone receiving a master’s or doctoral degree.

The hooding ceremony originated in European universities in the 11th or 12th century and was introduced as a way to distinguish graduating students as they began their academic careers. Hooded robes, often required for warmth in unheated medieval libraries, were first used as a sort of practical uniform for scholars as they studied and produced written works. However, over time the robes became largely symbolic. Universities then added colors to the robes to differentiate students by their academic majors, and the hoods later became detached ornaments, presented to graduates as part of the commencement. Hoods are still used today to represent a commitment to a scholarly life. While modern day undergraduates wear robes and caps, those with master’s or doctorate degrees are presented with hoods to show their continued pursuit of knowledge. Such hoods are an expression of tradition and are used to communicate the wearer’s school, degree, and field of study for the rest of their lives. At this ceremony our new graduates will proudly be wearing University of Wisconsin colors, but a fun aspect of the ceremony is seeing the faculty representing the colors of the institutions from where they earned their law degrees from.

This year’s Law School Hooding Ceremony will be Friday, May 10, 2024, at 1 p.m. at the beautiful Monona Terrace Convention Center. Guests, family members and friends are welcome to attend. There is no ticketing for attendance and seating is general admission, but if you do plan on attending it has been requested that graduates and their guests register for the event for planning purposes. You can follow this link to register.  


Submitted by Scott Park on April 26, 2024

This article appears in the categories: Law Library