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Campus traditions

Founded in 1851, Columbia College offers a rich and vibrant experience built on a foundation of excellence in education. With more than 160 years of history and generations of traditions, Cougar pride is unmistakable. From entering through Rogers Gate to wearing navy and silver proudly across campus, these traditions help us celebrate the spirit of Columbia College. Welcome home.

New Student Pinning Ceremony 

The New Student Pinning Ceremony is your official Columbia College induction. Columbia College’s administration, faculty, staff and students welcome you into our community, while being surrounded by friends and family. You will receive your official commemorative Columbia College pin. After the ceremony is "Let’s Get It Started," a series of fun, high-paced adventure activities for incoming students.

Storm the Gate

Storm the Gate kicks off the school year with fanfare and fun as the whole campus community gathers. New students storm Rogers Gate, while faculty, staff and other students cheer them on. It’s a party on Bass Commons and sets the tone for being part of a supportive and vibrant community.  

Hey Day

Hey Day is your chance to get connected! Booths and displays provide all you need to know about joining one or more of 50-plus student organizations. Local restaurants and community organizations in and around the Columbia area join in the fun to make it a memorable day. Come out and say hey!

Homecoming Week 

Homecoming Week begins with a banner competition and continues with activities throughout the week to spark school spirit and cougar pride! Capping off Homecoming Week is Family Day. Family, friends and alumni join together on campus for athletic events, induction ceremonies, special performances from the Jane Froman Singers and much more. It’s great fun for the entire family!

International Extravaganza

The International Extravaganza brings the Columbia College community together for a showcase of cultural foods, music and talent. Seats to the extravaganza are always coveted and the food an extraordinary mosaic of ethnic cuisine. You won’t want to miss this exceptional opportunity. 

Holiday Lighting Ceremony

A Columbia College tradition since 1995, the Holiday Lighting Ceremony brings the campus community together at Rogers Gate in anticipation of the countdown. The Columbia College President and Student Government Association President have the noble job of flipping the switch and illuminating more than 4,500 white lights.  Cheers of hundreds of onlookers mark this joyous occasion. Afterwards, attendees make their way to the holiday reception for you and the families of faculty and staff.

Honor Societies & Emerging Leader Inductions

Honor Societies & Emerging Leader Inductions are opportunities to reap the reward of your dedication, time and commitment. You may be asked to take an oath, read a pledge, serve as a mentor, or even participate in a secret society.

The Honors & Awards

Invitations arrive, inviting you to be recognized for your outstanding academic performance. The A+ banquet is an opportunity designed to honor students living in the residence halls. These are student who have had high academic achievement during the prior semester. The Honors & Awards Convocation brings together the brightest minds at Columbia College. It recognizes students’ academic contributions through gifts and scholarships made possible by generous philanthropic donors. These events allow Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to express their gratitude to you as an academic role model.

Excellence in Athletics

Beyond academics there are so many ways to get involved, including through the athletics department and intramural sports. Columbia College has a tradition of excellence in athletics. Whether playing intramurals for fun, being a spectator or playing on a team, you are part of the excitement. White Out Woods is a long-standing tradition for Cougar Athletics against teams from William Woods University, our closest athletic conference opponent. For “Woods” games (across all sports), put aside the usual Columbia College navy and silver and wear white to show solidarity with the Cougars. WE ARE CC!

The Student Voice on Campus - Student Government Association

The Columbia College Student Government Association serves as the student voice on campus. SGA conveys student ideas and concerns to the administration throughout the year. Talk to the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean for Student Affairs at Pizza with the Deans. It gives you the ability to ask questions, get answers and plant seeds for new ideas to grow. 

Student Affairs Night of Recognition

Hosted by the Division of Student Affairs (DoSA) for more than two decades, the Student Affairs Night of Recognition is a fun-filled evening. The DoSA staff honors the hard work and dedication of Columbia College’s committed student leaders. The evening also marks a time to reflect on all the great happenings throughout the past academic year. Nominate a student or organization to be recognized.

Late Night Breakfast 

Each semester, the Late Night Breakfast is the perfect study break just for you! For more than 20 years, the Division of Student Affairs staff have prepared a late night breakfast. This encourages students to take a break from studies during finals week. Fresh omelets served by singing staffers should not be missed!

Ivy Chain Ceremony

The Ivy Chain Ceremony, Columbia College’s oldest and most beautiful tradition, originated in 1900 and continues to be held on graduation day in May. The ceremony begins with graduating seniors draped together by a long strand of ivy processing through Rogers Gate. Students then form a circle on Bass Commons. The circle symbolizes the unity of the graduating class and the continuity of friendships forged. The traditional greenery draped along the shoulders of the seniors is cut at the end of the ceremony. This signifies that although graduates are entering a new phase of life, they will maintain a special bond with classmates. This ceremony is celebrated at Columbia College’s traditional campus and at many learning venues around the nation.


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