The master's degree hood first appeared in the high Middle Ages, during the 12th and 13th centuries, when the university first came into being. Originally attached to the church, the scholars and pupils of these first colleges were largely clerks or aspiring clerics. the cap, gown, and hood we know today grew out of the clerical dress of that period. Stephen Langton, England's greatest medieval archbishop, standardized all clerical garb at the Council of Oxford in 1222, style of robing accepted for academics in the United States in 1895 at a convention at Columbia University.
The most distinctive element of the academic garb is the hood, a medieval relic descended from cowls worn by monks to ward off drafts in English monasteries. Ithaca's master's and doctoral graduates will be honored each year by joining in this ancient tradition through the graduate hooding ceremony.