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.
Photo from gadgetdude via flickr.