Academic’s company history starts with the year America came home from World War II (1946), the year european immigrants Hans and Freda Stanley pursued the American dream and started their own company by turning to skills they knew from the old country – fine tailoring. They defied the odds, and established Academic as a premier company in the choir and judicial robe industry in Southern California.
In 1976 their daughter Evelyn, a school teacher, and son-in-law Michael Cronan, a product line manager, learned the business and gradually took on more duties with Academic. Soon thereafter, Hans and Freda were able to retire, and Michael and Evelyn Cronan assumed the leadership of the company. Michael brought with him new skills learned from years with the high tech company ITT General Controls, modernizing the manufacturing process and introducing new robot-assisted and computerized methods to streamline production. In addition, with Evelyn’s knowledge of the education system, they created a new department known as Academic Cap & Gown to specialize in Graduation Gowns and graduation-oriented products, and together they expanded the marketplace to reach a national customer base.
In 2003, Michael and Evelyn Cronan’s son Mark Cronan left a decade-long practice of law to learn the business, and a third generation is now involved with this longstanding American family-owned business.
Academic Apparel remains a privately owned company. With sales across the world, the company is now truly international. However, we have always maintained the small-company feel, and place customer service as our highest priority. Whether you are interested in choir or judicial robes, or our lines of graduation gowns, honor stoles and cords, class rings, or other products, you can always be sure that you are dealing with a company that places you, the customer, number one.