The Graduate character jug modeled by Stanley J. Taylor and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, between 1991-1995. At special ceremonies, called graduation or commencement exercises, schools and colleges usually give a diploma or certificate in recognition of achievement to students who satisfactorily complete a regime of schoolwork. Graduation exercises were first held by European universities of the Middle Ages. American educational institutions still maintain many of the European graduation customs. In most colleges, graduates wear academic gowns and caps to the ceremonies. The tasseled, flat black caps are called "mortarboards." The color of the tassel shows the kind of degree the graduate is receiving. Graduates may wear colored hoods on their backs to show the highest degree they already hold, and the institution that conferred it. It is customary at many high schools and some colleges for the valedictorian and salutatorian of the graduating class to make farewell speeches. They are the graduates with the highest and second-highest marks, as perhaps this proud graduate with diploma in hand is one. A diploma forms the handle of this jug.