Now we don our graduation apparel: The meaning behind the colors

Caitlyn Nichols

Each color tassel worn at WSU graduate ceremonies has a unique meaning. (Pexel)

At graduation ceremonies, graduates don their caps and robes, stoles and cords and a number of other significant decorations. The multicolored tassels aren’t just for show, though: there’s a meaning behind the colors.

Each college or field of studies at Weber State University have a different color of tassel for their graduating students.

In the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, most of the tassels are orange: Master of Computer Engineering, Master of Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Computer Engineering, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Associate of Pre-engineering graduates all wear orange.

“Orange is the universal color for engineering,” said David Ferro, dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology.

Other graduates in the college graduating in Applied Science and Technology wear black tassels.

In the Arts and Humanities college, most graduates wear a white tassel, with the exception of those graduating with a Master of Professional Communication, who wear a crimson tassel.

All graduates in the College of Business and Economics wear brown tassels. Similarly, all graduates in all departments of the College of Education wear light blue tassels.

The College of Health Professions, though, sports a wider variety of tassel colors. Masters of Respiratory Therapy, Masters of Athletic Training and Bachelors of Athletic Therapy wear sage green tassels. Masters of Health Administration, Bachelors of Health Administrative Services, Bachelors of Public Health and graduates in dental hygiene wear salmon-colored tassels. Masters of Nursing, Masters of Nurse Practitioner, Masters of Radiology and other graduates of health professions wear apricot-colored tassels.

Yasmen Simonian, dean of the College of Health Professions, said that most of the students of emergency healthcare wear their class A or B public safety uniforms. If they do choose a cap and gown, they are provided the Health Profession’s apricot-colored tassel.

All graduates in the College of Science wear golden yellow tassels.

Most graduates in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences wear cream tassels, with the exception of those graduating with Masters of Criminal Justice, who wear citron tassels.

Finally, integrated studies graduates wear cream tassels those graduating with their Associates in General Studies wear purple and white tassels.

Graduation ceremony apparel has roots in tradition and history, each piece containing meaning, and the colors of the tassels are no different. According to the Washington Post, white has traditionally been assigned to the arts. Green, representing medieval herbs, has been assigned to medicine, with olive green for pharmacy. The golden yellow assigned to science signifies the wealth that scientific research has produced.

Today, all of the colors of the tassels for the different studies are frequently the same from one university to the next.

Graduation robes for WSU students are purple for associates, and black for bachelors and masters. More information can be found at the graduation page on the WSU homepage for those graduating.