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Doctoral Hooding Celebration

Interior view of Krannert.

Congratulations Graduates!

DECEMBER 2023 Ceremony

Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 a.m.
Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Find more information about the ceremony including the link to register on the December 2023 Doctoral Hooding Ceremony event details page.

For complete list of the December 2023 Convocation Ceremonies happening across campus, please visit the Commencement Office website.

A Message from the Dean

Dean Wojtek Chodzko-ZajkoWe are immensely proud to host this celebration of our graduates who have earned the highest degree, the doctorate, along with faculty mentors.

Doctoral hooding is a symbolic gesture that represents the culmination of scholarly and personal achievement. During the ceremony, the hood is placed over a student’s head by a mentor or senior scholar, marking the transition from learner to producer or contributor in one’s field. It recognizes their academic achievements and welcomes them into the community of scholars.

Illinois has a rich tradition in doctoral education. Our first two doctor of philosophy degrees were awarded in 1903, one in Chemistry and one in Mathematics. That was over 100 years ago. The graduates celebrated this term join generations of distinguished alumni who are leaders and innovators, impacting the lives of people around the world. I am confident that these graduates, with their commitment and perseverance, will use their knowledge and expertise to shape our future in profound ways.

If you are a graduate, we hope that you’ll join us for the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony to celebrate of all you have accomplished, surrounded by the family, friends, mentors and colleagues who helped you succeed.


Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko
Dean of the Graduate College

May 2023 Speaker

Dr. Lori RaetzmanDr. Lori Raetzman is an associate professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  She is also an affiliate with the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Neuroscience graduate program. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of developmental disorders and exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals on the pituitary, a gland critical for coordinating growth, fertility, metabolism, and the body’s response to stress.

Dr. Raetzman has extensive experience with graduate education and is the Associate Director for the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology PhD Programs. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Graduate College Executive Committee and director of graduate studies in Molecular & Integrative Physiology. She is a dedicated teacher and mentor and has been recognized with the Medical Scholar Program Outstanding Adviser Award, Neuroscience Program Faculty Mentoring Award and the James Heath Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Raetzman has chaired the Trainee and Career Development Committee of the Endocrine Society and is currently the chair of the FASEB Trainee and Career Opportunities Subcommittee, evidence of her commitment to trainees at a national level. She is a hands on mentor who enjoys helping students find their own unique path through graduate school and beyond.

Order of Ceremony


Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Dean of the Graduate College


Robert J. Jones, Chancellor


John Coleman, Provost


Lori T. Raetzman, Associate Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology


Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Graduates will be recognized by college in the following order:

  • College of Agriculture, Consumer & Environmental Sciences
  • College of Applied Health Sciences
  • Gies College of Business
  • College of Education
  • Grainger College of Engineering
  • College of Fine & Applied Arts
  • Graduate College
  • School of Information Sciences
  • School of Labor & Employment Relations
  • College of Law
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • College of Media
  • School of Social Work
  • College of Veterinary Medicine

Ritual and Tradition of Academic Dress

The history of academic dress begins around the twelfth century when the earliest universities were forming in Europe. At that time, the dress of a scholar—whether student or teacher—was that of a cleric. Typically, a medieval scholar would have taken ecclesiastical vows and would have been tonsured. The long gowns were worn primarily for warmth and hoods would have covered the heads of the scholars who spent many hours in unheated monasteries where ancient texts were maintained.

Subsequently, the material of the gown and lining, and the shape of the hood, represented the economic, social, and academic status of the wearer. The wearing of distinctive regalia for universities emerged in England in the second half of the fourteenth century.

In the United States, the tradition of academic dress dates to the 1880s, when different institutions established their own academic dress codes. Black is the traditional color for gowns, although at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, academic dress has been designed specifically for the Institution—blue gowns with orange accents and blue mortarboards.

Doctoral Regalia

Today the doctoral gown is faced down the front with velvet and has bell-shaped sleeves with three bars of velvet across each sleeve, differentiating it from the bachelor’s and master’s gowns. The facing and bars may be black or blue, as is the case at Illinois, or may be the color of the subject to which the degree pertains. Doctoral gowns may be worn open or closed.
Another distinction of the doctoral gown is its longer hood, which measures 4 feet. Hoods are lined with the official color or colors of the college or university conferring the degree. At Illinois, the lining is orange and blue.

The five-inch, colored, velvet border of the hood identifies different doctoral degrees as follows:

  • Dark Blue – Doctor of Philosophy / PhD
  • Light Blue – Doctor of Education / EdD
  • Pink – Doctor of Musical Arts / DMA
  • Purple – Doctor of the Science of Law / JSD
  • Medium Blue – Doctor of Audiology / DAud

See MORE Recordings of Past Ceremonies