Graduation Regalia – What do the Colors Mean?

Graduation is all about reflecting meaning – the whole event really is a symbol reflecting the completion of an educational journey. And we want to help you reflect the excellence and value of this important milestone! But when it comes to the meaning of colors, things can get confusing quickly. Colors can be used to represent academic achievement, a specific area of study, school pride, membership in an honors society… or they can just be pleasing colors!

The bottom line is that there is no “right answer” to what each color represents. Even among Ivy League universities, different colors are used to represent different degrees or areas of study. So you have broad latitude to choose a color for its traditional symbolism or simply because you prefer it. Here are some of the most common meanings of our academic colors.


Gold, the most common accent color in graduation regalia, is used broadly to represent academic excellence and achievement, particularly in the fields of science and mathematics. It’s also used to represent honor societies and high grade point averages.


Green is often used to represent scientific emphasis, particularly natural sciences. It’s also a favorite of Classical educators.


Navy can signify membership in an Honor Society or Key Club, or reflect loyalty and leadership.


Purple, the color most often associated with royalty, is also used to reflect school colors or an emphasis in law (for higher education).


Red symbolizes courage, vitality, sacrifice, determination, and will power. In academia, it’s most commonly used for theology or divinity majors.


Royal Blue is a popular academic color representing philosophy, and also can symbolize patriotism or military training.


Pink represents achievement or skill in music. It can also reflect beauty and love.


Maroon, the academic color symbolizing journalism or communication, can also represent strength, confidence, and ambition.


Silver can represent a number of academic disciplines from speech to veterinary science. It’s often is used to represent leadership and success.

Sky Blue

Sky Blue is typically used to represent a degree in education. It can also symbolize peacefulness or diplomacy.


In academia, Turquoise often symbolizes public administration or government service. It can also symbolize compassion or calm in the face of adversity.


White represents purity, wisdom, and new beginnings. In academia it’s often used to reflect studies in the humanities.

Shopping Cart

with a CC Certificate of Completion

Honor your child’s achievement with a beautiful, custom certificate – available for Foundations, Essentials, and Challenge A-IV.