Kudos: Rite of Spring

The academic gown, once worn every day for warmth in unheated northern European universities, needs restyling each 50 years or so to keep academe from feeling too stodgy. Last week, at graduation, Columbia showed its new doctoral dress. Slate grey with a facing of black velvet replaces the black that is customary in the U.S. A four-cornered soft tarn with a gold tassel replaces the stiff mortarboard. The university thoughtfully advised academic plumage-watchers to note the border of the hood for "the color indicating the discipline to which the degree pertains: arts...

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