I am planning on graduating college soon, and there is a ceremony at the end which has all of the graduates wearing the cap and gown.
Is it permissible to wear either of these items? I saw online that it seems as though it was decided that they were to be worn as they were the garb of the church clergymen, who taught many of the courses and were supposed to symbolize being a high class and intellectual person. I am not an expert and could be wrong about the origin, this is just what I have seen online.
Regarding the ceremony itself, there will be boys and girls there in a lax and light atmosphere, and I do not think it is appropriate to go to such an event to begin with, and must discuss this with my parents.. In general is it permissible to attend such events? If not what would be the prohibition?
The origin of the cap and gown does not affect its current status. This garb is now used and seen exclusively as the garb of graduation from educational institutions, and hence is permissible to wear.
In terms of the event itself, one should not attend an event which has a frivolous atmosphere with boys and girls. Perhaps if you attend with your family for the ceremony itself and not the celebration afterward this would help. You should certainly discuss with your parents and Rabbeim as this is very case sensitive.