The Mizzou Store changes 2015 graduation gowns

Due to the change in gowns, students must purchase a Grad Pack for $74.99.
MU students speak with an employee at the cap and gown graduation booth Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at the MU Student Center in Columbia, Mo.

This spring, MU graduates will become the first class to walk with MU insignia on their gowns.

The gowns are black with “MU” embroidered in gold. Both bachelor’s and master’s gowns are changing.

This change means students must purchase caps and gowns through the Mizzou Store. They therefore must purchase a Grad Pack, which comes with a cap, the new gown, tassel, a T-shirt and a one-year membership to Mizzou Alumni Association. The package costs $74.99.

The Mizzou Store held a graduation fair in March, where it received many positive responses to the pack, Mizzou Store spokesperson Michelle Froese said.

Along with students liking the new designs, alumni also sent social media messages stating they wished they had the MU insignia when they graduated, Froese said.

Senior Sara Driscoll, a former Maneater staffer, bought her Grad Pack a couple of weeks ago. She said the package is “grossly overpriced.”

“Although it does look nice, I don’t think that it should be required for (graduates) to get the newly embroidered cap and gown … I have friends who already had cap and gowns ready to borrow and ready to wear, and the fact that we can no longer do that is pretty upsetting,” Driscoll said.

The only graduation pieces students are able to purchase on their own are additional tassels. Students often graduate with two tassels, as different colors represent different majors for undergraduates.

Students graduating with masters’ degrees, however, all receive black tassels. The hoods on their gowns are instead color-coded.

In order to embroider the gowns, MU now works with a different company: Oak Hall Cap and Gown.

The change in companies spurred from issues with the former regalia vendor, as shipments were often late and the gowns were poor quality, Froese said. Once they started searching for a new vendor, she said they thought Oak Hall’s gown examples were of superior quality and showcased MU better.

Senior Sarah Harmening said she’s not looking forward to paying for the new gowns.

“I don’t know why it’s so expensive, that’s my biggest thing … We’re only wearing it for the ceremony and pictures,” she said.

Harmening said she thinks MU should rent graduation caps and gowns to student to save them from spending unnecessary money.

Froese said the change to custom regalia provided an opportunity to showcase MU. This is important, she said, as students will be able to remember their graduation ceremony, wearing the MU regalia, for years to come.

“Coming off of the 175th anniversary, they were looking at strengthening that sense of celebration and tradition,” Froese said.

Senior Frank Klockenga said he agrees with Froese’s theory. Klockenga said Grad Packs are worth the money, as graduation is the biggest accomplishment he’s reached. He said he’s willing to purchase whatever gown is necessary for the ceremony.

“I had to buy my own cap and gown in high school because I didn’t have too much support from my parents,” Klockenga said. “And I still have it in my closet.”

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