It arrived in time - a parcel post box from Salem, Va., with the master's hood I earned way too late in life. It has the royal blue and white of Queen's University, and a band of chestnut brown velvet to indicate the M.F.A.
Regalia seems too much a word for somber academic gowns, despite their satin facings and velvet bands. We've lost the art of adornment that tells a story - the colors and patterns of kimonos, season by season, or the orders and honors of the court. It's all personal now. Those who try to institute new forms of heraldry just seem odd - witness the daily vest-ments of Michael Jackson on his way into the courthouse.
I haven't attended a graduation since my own from the journalism school at West Virginia University. But I have a dozen students or more who have become friends and colleagues in the course of their own journalistic training at A&T, and so on Saturday I'll join the black-robed march to honor them.