Graduation Stoles: What Do the Colors Mean?

You have probably been to dozens of graduation ceremonies including your own. Have you ever wondered why the graduates wear various stole colors? Each one has a specific meaning that comes from traditions stemming from the Middle Ages. These days a lot of leeway is given as long as the stole is worn properly. That includes having the two pointed ends fall even on each side.


Graduation Stoles What Do the Colors Mean by Being A Wordsmith


A Lesson on Stoles

A graduation stole, or stash, can be traced back to the 1500s. The Catholic Church’s influence caused academic groups to create clothing that resembled attire that priests wore. Times have changed of course and the colors are more prominent. Colleges and universities assign colors to specific subject areas. They reference the degree being earned and the field of study. Sororities, fraternities, and other collegiate organizations have their own graduation sash colors as well. 

Other common stoles have colors that signify their grade point averages which deem them Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude. Many graduates wear gratitude stoles. These represent the parents or mentors in a graduate’s life. The traditional stole, which is the basic stole that all graduates wear, includes the graduation year and the school’s name. 

Graduation is a special ceremony for students and their families and friends to commemorate four years of accomplishments. It marks a new chapter in their lives. The stole colors are an extension of their upcoming journey.

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