Notre Dame Says Goodbye To Sheepskin Diplomas

Sheepskin diplomas seem like an archaic tradition, but until this week it was the norm for famed Notre Dame University. Thankfully the institution is switching to paper.

Starting in January 2012, all diplomas issued to graduates of Notre Dame will be made of high-quality paper rather than sheepskin.

Chuck Hurley, Notre Dame’s associate registrar said the switch is due in part to the approximate 200 students each year who request paper diplomas because of animal welfare concerns.

Hurley also said, “As a biological entity, sheepskin can fade, shrink and wrinkle.” It also requires the use of lead ink.

News of the change is prompting the Herff Jones Co, one of the few remaining printing companies that produce the sheepskin diplomas, to close that portion of their business. Notre Dame was their largest client.

There are four other schools in the country that still use sheepskin: Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN; the Citadel in Charleston, SC; Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, VA and Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA.

The new paper diploma uses the same typeface and seal and looks “exactly the same to the untrained eye.”

Notre Dame has used sheepskin since the early 1900′s.  About 3,000 bachelor degree diplomas are issued each year.

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98 comments

James Taylor
James Taylor4 years ago

Sheepskin clothing and footwear seems to be making a comeback, at least here in the UK, not that I would ever consider wearing it. As long as something is trendy and fashionable, 'sheeple' will wear just about anything it seems...

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

Lighten up, Bill. It was said as a joke. I don't "trip" nor do I smoke hemp or ropes or anything else, BTW. If you read many of the "reasons for" legalizing it, or listen to some of the participants at "Hempfest", that is one of the reasons "for". I'm personally in favor of it, but not to make rope from.

Bill K.
Bill K.4 years ago

keep dreaming (or tripping) Diane. they could smoke a whole field of industrial hemp and not get a buzz, just a tremendous headache. that's a common misconception that won't go away and one keeping us from reaping all the environmental and health benefits of hemp clothing, foods, insulation, plastics, fuels, paper.......

Diane L.
Diane L.4 years ago

And, just think, Bill.........if they didn't like the diploma, they could always roll it up & smoke it.

Bill K.
Bill K.4 years ago

they should switch to hemp paper. it's water and mildew resistant, longer lasting, and the same stuff used for the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Bill K.
Bill K.4 years ago

wow! i didn't realize anyone still used sheepskin for paper.

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

Ya - ho-o-o-o. It's about time.

Shaheen N.
Shaheen N.4 years ago

Its better late than never.

sandra m.
Past Member 4 years ago

good news!

roseann s.
rose ann s.4 years ago

anything to stop animal abuse and exploitation is most welcome