The colorful and distinctive garb conspicuous at Idaho State University's commencement ceremony has its origin in the High Middle Ages, the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities first came into being. These first universities grew up in the shadow of the church – they obtained papal charters, most of the knowledge they disseminated was theological or ecclesiastical, and their scholars and pupils were largely clerics or aspiring clerics. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the cap, gown, and hood grew out of the clerical dress of that period.
In 1896, the colleges and universities in the United States adopted a uniform code governing academic dress. Those who are receiving a master's or doctor's degree from Idaho State wear hoods lined with ISU orange and black. The velvet border of the hood indicates the degree and usually follows the same code as the color of the tassels.
The Oxford cap, commonly referred to as a mortarboard, has a long tassel that is fastened by a button on the top. Candidates for baccalaureate degrees wear the tassel pendant over the right front of the cap before the degree is conferred, and over the left thereafter. The color of the tassel on the bachelor's cap indicates the field of study.
White – Arts, Letters, Humanities
Drab – Accounting, Business
Copper – Economics
Light Blue – Education
Orange – Engineering
Brown – Fine Arts
Crimson – Journalism
Pink – Music
Apricot – Nursing
Silver Gray – Rhetorical Studies
Olive Green – Pharmacy
Dark Blue – Philosophy
Sage Green – Physical education
Peacock Blue – Public Administration
Golden Yellow – Science
Citron – Social Work
Black - College of Technology