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Graduates Celebrate On The Southbank

History of Graduation Traditions


As summer comes to an end, many graduates are off to join workforce, or enrolled in their next level of education. As past graduates get jobs, the cycle continues with new students following in their foot steps. Foster Gordon, Long Island’s premier manufacturing company of diploma, menu and religious covers explains the history of graduation traditions.

group of college graduates and professor

Graduation Customs

Cap and Gown

The cap and gown tradition is dated all the way back to the 12th century. It all started when graduation ceremonies were commenced in areas with no heat, causing students to bundle up in robes and hats. Years later after heating systems were created the tradition lived on. Other cap and gown traditions now include males wearing robes with their school colors and females wearing white gowns. The typical length of a gown is anywhere between the knee and ankle. The color of your cap varies as well as the position of the tassel. To learn more about tassel meanings check out our post on graduation caps.


Throwing your Caps in the Air

We can all thank the Navy for this tradition that started in 1912. Before 1912 navy academy graduates had to serve two years in the fleet, before becoming a navy officer. The graduating class of 1912 was the first to be commissioned immediately after graduation, causing them to no longer need their hats. All the excitement caused the graduating class to toss their hats in the air and cheer. Since then, every year hats are thrown in the air across the country during graduation time.


Diploma Covers

The history of diploma covers is not as interesting as the others. It all stared with a need for people to showcase their remarkable achievements, in another way besides using a plaque. Diploma covers were simply covers that were customized to fit your graduation diploma. However in 1967 when Foster Gordon MFG was established our founders Bob and Alberta made it their priority, to provide only the best quality diploma covers, presentation folders and menu covers. They were able to recognize early on that attention to detail and American made goods provide the best quality products.


These were just a few of the many graduation traditions, others include a party, graduation speakers and of course, lots of photos. If you recently graduated you’re probably going to receive your official diploma in the mail quite soon. Contact Foster Gordon or fill out a form to receive any one of our custom diploma cover options.