PRGS Selects New Academic Regalia

Wasserman models regalia

Assistant Dean Jeffrey Wasserman models new PRGS regalia

Diane Baldwin

After several weeks of researching, acquiring samples and polling our community (and a brief fashion show to boot!), PRGS is proud to announce our official custom academic regalia. Many prominent schools design their own distinctive regalia for their alumni in academic appointments to wear in commencement ceremonies, and PRGS is now part of that distinguished group.

Dean Susan L. Marquis and RAND President Michael Rich, as well as some of our PRGS alumni faculty members, will be debuting the new regalia at this year's commencement exercises on Saturday, June 23, 2012. We look forward to this enhancement to our ceremony and to the school's growing tradition.

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning PRGS Academic Regalia

Q: Who will wear the new regalia?

A: This regalia can be worn by alumni of PRGS who are now in academic positions where they are expected to wear regalia in commencement and other ceremonies. Usually, they have the option of renting standard regalia, but many prefer to have their own custom-made. The expectation is that they would have the opportunity to use this many times throughout their careers.

Additionally, we are allowing this year's PhD graduates the option of ordering their own regalia to wear in commencement should they choose to do so. However, they will still certainly have the option of ordering the standard rental regalia (black cap and gown, hood with PRGS colors) at no charge to them as in years past.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: The entire set, which includes the gown, hood, tam and tassel, totals around $900. Again, we expect that only alumni who will be wearing this regularly over the span of their careers will be interested in making this investment.

Q: Who is producing our regalia?

A: We have commissioned Oak Hall Cap & Gown to manufacture our regalia. This is a highly-respected company that produces regalia for the Ivy League and many other schools. It is based in Salem, VA. The company's website can be found at

Q: Doesn't the Chancellor normally wear the school's special regalia?

A: As PRGS is not organized in the same way as a traditional school, we have decided that the president of the organization and the highest-ranking academic officer will wear the school's regalia. Thus, President Michael Rich and Dean Susan L. Marquis will debut it in this year's commencement on June 23rd.

Q: Why won't Dean Marquis be wearing her own alma mater's regalia?

A: While Dean Marquis thoroughly enjoyed wearing the very distinctive bright-orange-on-black regalia of Princeton University previously, we have decided that she, as the chief academic officer of the School, should wear the official PRGS regalia.

Q: Why do we need special academic regalia?

A: Many schools, including those in the Ivy League, have their own distinctive regalia for use in official ceremonies. We think having our own will add to the history and tradition of our own school.

Q: How did you choose the colors? Why are they significant?

A: Many aspects of academic dress are dictated by a code that goes back to medieval traditions. Most schools' academic regalia design takes this code into consideration while still trying to maintain a distinctive overall design in order to create recognizable regalia, i.e. Harvard's crimson gown.

Our regalia design has incorporated our school colors of purple with gold, as well as dark blue velvet on the hood to signify the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The Pardee RAND Graduate School selected these colors early in our history. As a point of interest, RAND's corporate color purple was selected by former President Jim Thomson because of the school's colors.

Q: I am an alumnus/a of PRGS and would like to purchase regalia for ceremonies at the institution where I am now a professor. How do I order it?

A: Please visit the website for Oak Hall Cap & Gown at for more information and to download an order form.

Q: I am a member of the PRGS Faculty but I attended another university. What should I wear if I would like to participate in a PRGS commencement ceremony?

A: We enthusiastically encourage our faculty to participate in commencement! If you are not an alumnus/a of the school, you would wear the regalia of your alma mater for your highest academic degree. You may either purchase your own (you may look up your school on the Oak Hall website or check with the school itself) or rent regalia at no cost to you through PRGS.

Q: Who is that distinguished-looking model? He looks like one of the great thinkers of the Renaissance!

A: This is our own PRGS alumnus and Assistant Dean, Jeffrey Wasserman. He has assured us that he will not be quitting his day job(s) to pursue a modeling career.

Download the Order Form