Convocation is the most solemn ceremony within the university community. Since their beginnings in the Middle Ages, universities have performed this ceremony in order to grant degrees to their students and also welcome those students into the community of scholars which has trained them.
The conferring of the degree is symbolized either by an acknowledgement or handshake from the Chancellor, President or other conferring officers of the university.
As an outward sign of his or her new status, the student wears a hood. Each degree within a university has a hood of unique colours and trim in order that the student's status may be recognized - indeed every university guards its own set of hoods from use by any other university.