Get ready for a sea of maroon: CMU fires up with bright new commencement gowns

Large graduating class means extra tickets for families

The audience at commencement ceremonies May 10 will see a noticeably brighter sea of graduates, as they debut new maroon gowns.

"I think we've had black gowns forever," says Barry Waters, director of the CMU Bookstore. "The new ones are maroon with a CMU seal on the lapel. I love them."

Students seem to like the change, too. Waters said they've sold 35 percent more gowns this year.

The gowns, made by Oak Hall Cap and Gown in Virginia, are made of recycled plastic bottles. Oak Hall is the only graduation gown company that makes its gowns in the United States, Waters says.

"We're all excited to see what it looks like on graduation day," Waters says. "What could look better than everybody wearing maroon? It will really enhance our CMU identity."

Master's degree graduates will still wear black gowns, Waters says, but gowns will include the CMU seal. Doctoral graduates' gowns include maroon velvet down the front with embroidered CMU seals.

"They look classy," he says.

The new maroon gowns will be sold in Rose Room 125 right up until graduation time, Waters says, so any student showing up with a black gown will have time to switch.

The undergraduate gowns cost $55, including tax.

There are more than 3,500 prospective graduates this spring. In anticipation of a big crowd of friends and family, CMU will make additional tickets available to graduates for all three ceremonies May 10. In the past, up to six tickets were given to the graduates. That number will increase to eight this spring — five for seating in McGuirk Arena and three for the Simulcast Room.

The Simulcast Room will be located in the Student Activity Center's Large Sports Forum. It will be equipped with comfortable seating, along with two 18' x 20' screens and two 9' x 12' screens for viewing the ceremony.