NewsWorks sent photographer Bas Slabbers to cover this year’s Chestnut Hill College graduation. These are always picturesque moments, not only because it marks such a major transition in a young person’s life but also because the ceremonies themselves are rooted in ancient traditions.
In the programs handed out to the audience there was a whole section on “Academic Robes and Regalia.”
Ever wonder why some of the robes are black?
They are black because they symbolize the democracy of scholarship since they cover any dress or rank of social standing worn beneath.
How long have people wearing these square hats?
The tradition comes from the 13th Century tradition at the University of Paris.
As you browse through the photos keep an eye out for two people in particular.
The two were the featured speakers at this year’s graduation ceremony.
Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett gave the Commencement address. She was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Jacqueline Reich, an assistant professor of political science. Quick Corbett trivia: Her daughter Kate works as a prosecutor in the Philadelphia D.A.’s office.
The other featured speaker was Sister Constance Fitzgerald, a member of the Carmelite Sisters of Baltimore. It was the first community of religious women to be established within the original thirteen States. Sister Fitzgerald was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.