If you walk among the capped-and-gowned seniors lining up on Alumni Walk before Commencement begins, you can’t miss the occasional splash of color — the paint, paper, tape, and stickers that some graduates-to-be use to make their mortarboards their own.
On May 27, we asked members of the Class of 2018 to show us how they personalized their mortarboards, and what their decorations meant to them.
1. A ‘winna’ of a cap
The cap: “From ya wake up this morning, yous a WINNA”
Raegine Clouden Mallett ’18 of Brooklyn, N.Y., had a lot to feel great about on Commencement, so she and her sister Nyiesha, 17, decorated her cap with a lyric from the song “Cheers to Life,” by the soca artist Voice. In the corner of the cap is the flag of Grenada, Mallett’s mother’s home country.
2. Granite a degree
The cap: “B.S. Geology — My adventures will never be taken for granite — Thanks Mom & Dad”
Ashley Kulesza ’18 of Great Falls, Va., painted her cap to commemorate her geology major. Kulesza and her sister spent a few hours making the cap.
3. You are strong
The cap: “Hey Black Child — do you know how strong you are?”
Aria Sanders ’18 of Fort Worth, Texas, used lines from a poem by Useni Eugene Perkins to represent strength, particularly when it comes to hair. “I wanted to show that even if you have curly hair, you can wear your graduation cap with pride,” she said.
4. A perfectly square piece of home
The cap: Jamaican flag
Mickoy Nichol ’18 of Dennis Port, Mass., decorated his cap with the Jamaican flag. “It’s where I call home,” he said.
5. Girl Power, proven
The cap: “Grl Pwr”
Economics major Leah Dy ’18 of Laguna Hills, Calif., noticed there weren’t many women in her major or in her field, and she has worked to change that. She said she felt gratified upon learning that the company she’ll work for after graduation, the investment research firm Morningstar, had hired many women. Friend Sarah Daehler ’19 made the cap for her to celebrate. “I wanted to carry that theme through Commencement,” Dy said.
6. Reppin’ squatchin
The cap: “Gone squatchin”
Kelly Philbrook ’18 of Auburn, Maine, is a Bigfoot believer who once went “squatching” — searching for Sasquatch — in the White Mountains. She ordered a sticker to put on her cap.
7. Sunny state
The cap: sunflower
Ivette Partida ’18 of Norwalk, Conn., painted a sunflower on her high school graduation cap. She decided to do the same for college.