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The Difference between Graduation Stoles and Stoles of Gratitude

Graduation ceremonies are celebrations steeped in tradition, with some particulars dating back hundreds of years ago. Many of the graduation accessories and clothing you see stem from early American and European traditions, originating in some of the first colleges and universities founded. Since the beginning of the Western university system in the 1200s, there have been many graduation traditions that are still honored today, the graduation stole being one of them. The first stole was worn by Catholic and Anglican priests in the 12th century to signify their position. During this time period, the clothing of scholars replicated that of the church. The word ‘stole’ comes from the Latin-Greek word “stola” meaning garment. These garments were worn throughout history to represent a level of high academic achievement or to show belonging to a certain major, club, or member of Greek Life. 

Today, nothing has really changed, the unique clothing items worn at graduation ceremonies all represent a certain aspect of one’s academic career, which is often denoted by the use of different stoles, such as graduation stoles and stoles of gratitude. While similar in name and appearance, these two items have two very different symbolic meanings. 

What Is a Graduation Stole?

A graduation stole is a large piece of fabric worn around the shoulders that can symbolize the accomplishment of various things. It is worn similarly to an untied scarf around the shoulders, though a graduation stole typically is used to signify an achievement accomplished during one’s academic career. This achievement can be an accomplishment in one’s major, general academic achievement, or denoting one’s affiliation with an academic club, sorority, or fraternity. Stoles are also used to differentiate graduates from one another.

Our stoles can be purchased in various colors and can be embroidered with custom wording or designs. Visit our graduation stoles page now to check out the personalization features available to you!

What Is a Stole of Gratitude?

A stole of gratitude is one of the few items not kept by graduates. They are an expression of gratitude gifted to individuals who have given their financial and/or moral assistance in making graduation a reality. A stole of gratitude is given to an individual who has assisted in an individual graduating. The graduate wears a stole of gratitude and then presents this to the honoree after the ceremony. Graduates may choose to wear more than one stole to present to multiple people after the ceremony.

A stole of gratitude is a beautiful way to thank someone and provide an item of remembrance for the ceremony and all their help. Stoles of gratitude are identical looking to graduation stoles. If you wish to honor an individual who has helped make your graduation a reality, customize a stole of gratitude with a unique color and an embroidered message or logo.

Some schools may not permit the graduate to wear the stole during the ceremony, but the stole can still be worn after the ceremony and presented to its recipient at lunch or whatever other festivities may follow the graduation ceremony.

Preparing for Your Graduation

Graduation ceremonies are full of unique items and clothing that symbolize your various academic accomplishments. At Tassel Depot, we offer every graduation item you may need, such as our popular graduation gown and tassel pack, and honor cords

Graduation ceremonies are most often large, with many graduates, if not all, wearing the same colored cap and gowns. Items you can personalize, such as our stoles, cords, and custom graduation cord charms can help you stand out from the crowd! Visit our online store to check out our complete catalog of graduation items. Our experts have also put together a graduation preparation blog full of tips and timelines to help get ready for the big moment.

Related Readings:

The Meaning Behind Different Graduation Robes

Why Do We Throw Graduation Caps?