The inauguration of the President immerses us in the rich tradition of academic dress that reaches back to the early days of the world's oldest universities. Academic regalia originated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England more than 700 years ago. It is suspected that the long flowing robes were worn for warmth in the unheated buildings of medieval Europe.
From medieval practice, academic dress has three items: cap, gown, and hood. In reviving the use of these items for the United States, an intercollegiate commission in 1895 drafted a code that most universities, including the University of Miami, follow.
For all degrees, the mortarboard is the traditional cap. The tassel may be gold for a doctor or may indicate the field of study.
The bachelor's gown is black with long, pointed, open sleeves. The master's gown is black with a long, closed sleeve hanging below the elbow. The doctor's gown is black and is distinguished by three bars of velvet on a full sleeve.
The academic hood is the identifying symbol of the degree. Its length indicates which degree it represents: three feet for the baccalaureate, three and- a-half feet for the master's, and four feet for the doctorate. The lining indicates the college or university that awarded the degree. University of Miami hoods are lined in orange, green, and white. The color of the velvet band represents the academic discipline. The most frequently seen colors are white for arts, yellow for science, pink for music, blue for philosophy, purple for law, scarlet for divinity, green for medicine, light blue for education, sapphire blue for business, orange for engineering, blue violet for architecture, turquoise for continuing studies, gray for general studies, and apricot for nursing.
President Julio Frenk wears a black robe with four black velvet bars. The fourth chevron indicates this is the presidential regalia. The gown features orange and green piping as well as a doctoral hood lined in orange, green and white—reflecting the official University of Miami school colors.
Several traditional elements will symbolically represent the University of Miami and the Office of the President at the inauguration ceremony. These include the mace, medallion, charter, seal, and keys.
The academic mace, carried by the grand marshal during the procession, was created to lead commencement and convocation processions. The current mace is made of silver and is modern in its design. It replaced a wooden mace, hand-carved from Honduran mahogany in 1981, which now resides in the president's office.
When the President's Medal is placed around the neck of Julio Frenk, it will mark the second time it has been used in the investiture ceremony for a University of Miami president. The medallion is hand-sculpted by a master sculptor and is cast in solid gold. The front of the medallion features the University's Great Seal; the back of the medallion is engraved with the names and dates of office of the University's presidents. It replaces a medallion first used in the inauguration of Jay F. W Pearson in 1953.
Three other elements will play a role in the investiture ceremony – the University's charter, seal, and keys. These items are presented to the president but are not touched by anyone during the investiture ceremony.