How do you stand out in a crowd of 4,000 people, all wearing black caps and gowns?
Simply put, you wear something different. Like a giant, blue cowboy hat.
"I never got around to buying a cap," said Dave Jack, a business administration major from Andover sporting a 10-gallon foam Stetson. "I borrowed this gown from a buddy of mine who graduated last year."
If your parents are going to quickly notice you in the hour-long string of graduates streaming down Campanile Hill, you have to be different from the crowd.
Many graduates tied balloons to their caps. Crimson and blue, Scooby Doo and "Congratulations, Graduate" balloons topped the list. Others wrote on the top of their caps, such as a liberal arts and sciences grad who wrote "I did it ... somehow."
But that wasn't enough for students like Tho Nguyen, a nursing graduate from Gladstone, Mo. At the urging of her sister, already a nurse, Nguyen blew up two rubber gloves like balloons and pinned them to her mortarboard.
"She always says hand-washing is very important as a nurse," Nguyen said.
Rebecca Evans, a history and political science graduate from Plover, Wis., showed her team spirit on her graduation-day garb but not for the Jayhawks. She wore a cheesehead hat in honor of the Green Bay Packers
"I'm a huge Packers fan," she said. "It's also so my parents can find me."
Jason Gladfelter, a history graduate from Topeka, carried an American flag down the hill in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I've always been a patriotic guy, and I didn't want those (jerks) to get the better of our country," he said.
Brad Weiner, a English major from Englewood, Colo., showed his spirit for his favorite brew. He was wearing a Guinness top hat his friend stole from a pub in Manchester, England.
"I'm a really big Guinness fan, and I'm a really short guy," he said. "I'm 5'3" without (the hat) and probably about 6 feet with it. You've got to do something unique, or you'll just blend in."