Loyola seniors unhappy paying $60 for graduation gowns

By Sara Luebke

As Loyola University Chicago’s 141th Commencement Ceremony approaches, degree candidates are eager to receive their diplomas after years of hard work.  Those who are participating in the ceremony, however, are disgruntled with the price and the requirement of buying the cap and gown.

The bachelor graduation ensemble, which is purchased from Oak Hall Cap and Gown, costs $58.95 plus tax and consists of a maroon cap and gown with the Loyola crest, and a tassel from the candidate’s respective school.  As the cap and gown is the required attire for the ceremony, students are required to purchase the ensemble in order to participate.

Thrifty students have considered borrowing the gown from a Loyola alumnus, but Loyola recently customized the gowns with the schools maroon and gold colors, so there aren’t many of those gowns available.

“Loyola has only recently customized the apparel to be maroon and gold with the Loyola seal, so there are probably not that many gowns ‘out there’ to get a hold of,” said Joyce Knight, an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Loyola University Bookstore sponsored Grad Fairs where the majority of graduating seniors purchased their caps and gowns.  While at the fair, some students joked about finding one on eBay to save cash.  “That is a possibility,” Knight said, “but it’s unlikely.  Most people keep these as a keepsake.”

What has students so upset is that it is an expensive investment that could easily be fixed.

“There must be a better way to reduce the cost,” said Liz Hegarty, 22, a senior philosophy and political science major.  “There is no way those gowns cost $60 to make.”

Many students suggested that Loyola switch to a rental option, which until a few years ago was the standard procedure, and students simply wore a black cap and gown.  The customized maroon and gold gowns killed that option.

“Once we went to the Loyola regalia, that [renting] ended,” Knight said.

This switch to Loyola regalia does not seem logical to some, though.

Mark Harris, 22, a senior business major, saw the pricey problem as easily fixable.

“I don’t see the need in buying them; rent them and then give them back,” Harris said.

Besides the steep price, students were also angry that they had to purchase something that seemed so useless.

“It’s outrageous,” said Angie Gordon, 22, a senior international studies major. “I really will never wear that gown again.”

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