We run a fund-raising business hiring out academic regalia. Proceeds provide funds for fellowships, awards, grants and special projects in the community.
Our branch of Graduate Women has managed the academic dress hire for University of Otago graduation ceremonies since the 1930's. In 1933, the Branch made six hoods for hiring to graduands and by 1935 the Branch owned 19 hoods, 11 trenchers and one gown. In 1939 we took over the hiring of the University’s trenchers and in 1954 took over all hiring arrangements from the University Council buying the University’s gowns – 150 of them.
Since then the Branch's stock of academic dress has grown with more being added all the time. The Branch currently owns over 1,200 gowns, 3,600 hoods, approximately 1,200 trenchers, plus 170 John Knox caps, and a dozen Tudor Bonnets.
Ahead of each graduation ceremony (in May, August, and December) the usually quiet Academic Dress Rooms become a hive of activity, hiring gowns, hoods, and caps to excited graduands. During this time we ask members to volunteer to help with fitting, distributing, and returning regalia.
Outside graduation times the Academic Dress Rooms are open for casual hiring on Wednesdays between 12 noon and 2 pm. The rooms are located in the basement of the north end of the Geology Building, University of Otago.