The graduation ceremony is a cultural tradition that is considered a rite of passage. The ceremony marks a transition from one stage in a student's life to another. On graduation day, HSE, high schools, colleges and universities graduates traditionally march in procession to Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance dressed in regalia derived from academic and clerical dress codes common in medieval Europe.
During the colonial period, in the U.S. American colleges and universities used ceremonies and dress based on the British universities Oxford and Cambridge. In the 1880’s, students in New England started a movement to improve commencement week exercises and revived the traditions of college and university life.
An intercollegiate commission was formed in 1893 to establish a uniform code for caps, gowns and hoods. This code has changed slightly during the past 100 years. The attire is considered a proud badge of belonging for those who have earned the right to wear it. Black tassels are appropriate for all degrees, and colored tassels are worn by preference. Gold metallic tassels may be worn by doctors or presidents of colleges and universities.