This article examines the emergence of a new phenomenon in academic dress that has developed over the past twenty years—the awarding of special gowns by some colleges of the University of Cambridge to recognize individual donors and reward their munificence. This appears to be predominantly—albeit not exclusively—a Cambridge phenomenon, and for reasons advanced below not replicated at Oxford University. This article considers in turn whether benefactors’ gowns qualify as academic dress, the reasons for their institution and the criteria for their design. It then looks at the two types of design that have been used, paying particular attention to the revival of the fellow commoner gown for this purpose as its historic connotations are quite different from those associated with its present use. The article concludes by reviewing the individual colleges’ reasoning for and against the use of benefactors’ gowns, and the consequences of their use.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Publisher Name

New Prairie Press



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright - Non-Commmercial Use Permitted. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for non-commercial uses. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).