Important step forward

Graduation decision preserves tradition, offers option


graphic by payton thurman

The white dress will remain a hockaday tradition even as a cap and gown option is added.

By Anna Gum, Co Editor-in-Chief

Graduation: long white dresses, flower-adorned hats, rows of daisy baskets lining graduation terrace. And, beginning this year, crisp white graduation caps and gowns will join

the list of Commencement day traditions. On Oct. 28, members of the Hockaday community received an email announcing the introduction of white academic graduation robes and mortarboards as an alternative to the graduation dress.

We fully support Hockaday’s decision to expand the attire options in an effort to allow all graduates to feel comfortable, accepted and beautiful on their final day as Hockaday students.

The decision to offer an attire alternative did not happen overnight. Graduates have been requesting alternatives to the graduation dress for several years. During these years, the Board of Trustees has carefully considered the history of the dress tradition and following the 2021 Commencement, requested that an internal Graduation Attire Work Group form. The work group consulted with 44 peer schools, 39 of which are all-girl schools, and worked with the Board of Trustees, Alumnae Association Executive Committee, the Leadership Team, faculty, and students in the class of 2022.

We appreciate the thorough research and consideration that went into the decision, as well as the respect the board held for the tradition of the graduation dress throughout the process. We recognise, just as they did, the importance of the history and traditions of our 108 year-old school. And, further, we note the importance of changing traditions for the sake of better supporting all students.

By offering an alternative rather than abolishing the graduation dress, Hockaday honored the importance of tradition and the significance the dress holds for many students. Their modification, however, showed that Hockaday is open to  adapting for the sake of their students. Change can be hard, but it is also necessary, and we believe this change to the graduation dress tradition will benefit this year’s class of graduates and those to come.