Spirit, tradition, and ideals.
A distinguished tradition.
Among Sewanee’s many customs, none perhaps is more distinctive than the wearing of the gown by students and faculty. Gowns were originally authorized to be worn by all students in 1871, and the Order of the Gown (OG) was established in 1873 at the instigation of Chaplain William Porcher DuBose. The students who are members of the OG have worn the gown as a badge of academic distinction ever since. The OG was the original and only form of the student government until the 1960s.
Today, the Order works parallel with the Student Government to voice student opinion. It is also uniquely charged with the maintenance and promotion of the spirit, traditions, and ideals of the University. In addition, the OG runs the Election Committee, which is composed of all Proctors and is chaired by the President of the Order.
Undergraduates earn membership in the OG as seniors (students with 96 or more hours) if their academic average for the previous two semesters at Sewanee is 3.00; as juniors (students with 64-95 hours) if their academic average for the previous two semesters is 3.20; as sophomores (students with 32-63 hours) if their academic average for the previous two semesters is 3.40.
In accordance with faculty legislation, students must be inducted into the Order to be considered a member; students who cannot be present for the induction ceremony because they are abroad are inducted in absentia. Students who have not earned the GPA to be a member of the Order, but who have passed their comprehensive examination, are automatically inducted into the Order as de facto members once they have passed their comprehensive examinations.
In accordance with the provisions of the Student Government Constitution, the OG serves as a force for channeling student opinion to promote positive change. Besides the OG’s substantial legislative authority through its appointment power to student and faculty committees, the OG’s Executive Committee and task forces are unique methods for investigating the problems and concerns of the University Community. The degree to which the OG is involved in University life is determined by the President and body itself. The OG adopted its own constitution in 2007, which gives further structure to its organization and responsibilities.