Since 1900, graduates of Columbia College, formerly Christian College, have participated in one of the oldest commencement traditions in the country, the Ivy Chain ceremony.
At the start of this time-honored ceremony, a continuous chain of ivy is draped across the graduates' shoulders, who then process through Rogers Gate at the entrance of the college. Once through the gate, they form a circle on Bass commons to symbolize their class unity.
At the end of the ceremony, the ivy is cut to symbolize the graduates embarking on a new phase of life.
Graduates keep a piece of ivy to remind them that although they are parting ways, they will always have a special bond with their classmates and the college.
Roses are also an important part of the celebration. Graduates give a rose and write "rose notes" to special friends and mentors, passing along gratitude for their support and guidance.
The Ivy Chain ceremony has expanded from the main campus in Columbia, Missouri to the Nationwide campuses, where either the traditional ceremony is hosted at graduation, or ivy-wrapped roses are given to students as they cross the stage.
The Ivy Chain ceremony is a tradition that has linked graduates of Columbia College for over 100 years, and it is remembered fondly by participants.
This ceremony dates back to 1900 and has continued as Columbia College's longest-standing tradition. The ceremony symbolizes our unity as a graduating class as well as our individuality as we move on to varied and bright futures.
This ivy chain ceremony truly represents our time here at Columbia College. The ivy that lays across our shoulders represents the connections each of us has made in our time at Columbia College, pulling us together as students, peers and friends.
Yes, I was thinking of that last night, how the ivy must have begun this way. Ivy grows and clings to what it grows on, like bricks, which the college was originally. It spreads. It has leaves, meaning, to me, the friendships and the people. And even though it's cut, we still have those friendships. It just symbolizes the continuity of friendship and our friendship circle as we gather here.
Participants from our Nationwide campuses have positive memories of this event as well.
It was a really good experience, being connected with all of the other students, and learning a lot about everyone else, and feeling like a part of a really cool tradition. Of course when I found out that I was going to participate in the Ivy Ceremony, I immediately went online and started reading about the history of it, and being part of a long standing tradition like that with the college was very important to me, and made me feel really proud.
In a letter reflecting on her experience, one participant noted that "Within the circle there were overwhelming feelings of accomplishment, pride, and humility because we were part of a tradition and history that started in 1900."
As a graduate of Columbia College, we invite you to take part in this time honored tradition by inviting your family and friends to view your Virtual Commencement page.
Through your Virtual Commencement Dashboard, you can send virtual rose notes to those who supported, encouraged, and inspired you to Go for Greater at Columbia College.
We are proud of your accomplishments. Graduates who participate in a commencement receive an alumni pin. If you were unable to attend a ceremony and would like to receive a pin, please let us know by following the link on your Virtual Commencement Dashboard, and we will mail one to you.
Congratulations, and remember, We are CC!