17 October 2019

The big business of school graduation ceremonies

The red arrow shows the place to order just the cap, gown, and tassel.

Image amended from the original.


  1. When I graduated high school, in the early 70s, most of the senior class joined together and agreed that we were not buying gowns and caps if we had to pay for them. We would wear suits and dresses instead, as we still wanted to be respectful of the ceremony. This was near the end of the Vietnam War era when kids protested everything regarding the "establishment." The school administration decreed that students not wearing the proper attire would not be allowed to walk across the stage. A couple of days before graduation, the administration came to the realization that less than 10% of the graduates had purchased the gowns. This meant that about 40 students would walk the stage. It was decided that all students would receive gowns and caps and tassels free of charge. This became something of a tradition for the next 20 some years (the free attire) and only stopped when the school district merged with 2 others. Almost 50 years later, I still have the tassel.

  2. Also, I note that in the 3 packages at the top of the form in the picture, the cap and gown is not included. $250 and you still have to buy the cap and gown?

  3. The graduation fee was something like $110 for my college graduation 20+ years ago. The university alumni program calls every year now asking their alumni for donations. The young kid making the call gets rather quiet when I say the university can have a donation as soon as they refund that graduation fee. Seriously, that last gouge at my pocket book has cost them a lifetime of donations from this alum.

  4. I went to pick up my cap and gown at my school's bookstore with several friends getting our social work degrees. I clearly remember one of them saying to the cashier "you mean we don't have to pay for these?" The cashier didn't miss a beat. He looked at her and said "oh, you've paid for them..."

    I'll definitely be working off that cap and gown for the next ten years at the minimum, and I don't even plan to wear it again.


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