Dr. Waite always wore what appeared to be a long,
black cape over his suit. So, on that very first day
of class, noisy, excited students became a little
less noisy as their attention was drawn to the rather
distinguished looking professor who stood before
them. At first, he did not make eye contact. He just
seemed to be a bit preoccupied.
My black gown was an MA gown, but worn commonly
by older professors when I came to Dal in 1951. It
was already starting to go out of fashion, but I ignored
the trend, believing that students from high school,
seeing it, would grasp immediately that university
was a different world, and they would therefore
realize that really independent work was now expected
of them. When I was in an English school 1933-1934,
roughly our Grade 8 but with French and Latin, all
the masters but one wore the same black gown as we
did later on at Dalhousie.
The style is positively ancient, at least mediaeval.