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College Traditions

Some of our traditions are steeped in religion and reflection. Others give us a chance to celebrate our accomplishments. A few are just plain fun. Check out some of the traditions that bring our community together.

A dance held off campus for seniors celebrating the 100 days before Commencement.
During Advent in early December, a “Festival of Lessons and Carols” service is held in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel. The Office of the College Chaplains and the College Choir host the beloved service, providing an opportunity to gather as a community and reflect — in prayer, Scripture and song — on the joyous message of Christmas.
Led by the president of the College the day preceding Commencement, this liturgy of thanksgiving honors the senior class. During the Mass, faculty in academic regalia, administration and staff offer blessings to the graduating students and wish them well on their future endeavors.
In early December, the Purple Key Society invites the campus community to an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The event features a visit from Santa Claus, musical performances by student groups, and free cookies, hot chocolate and cider.
Held in September, the annual event introduces underclassmen to the more than 100 recognized groups, clubs and organizations available at Holy Cross.
A true celebration in achievement, diplomas are awarded to graduating students during Commencement Exercises at Worcester's DCU Center in May. Honorary degrees are also assigned to individuals who embrace the mission of Holy Cross in their daily lives. There are a number of other Commencement traditions.
Held at the beginning of the academic year, first-year students, student leaders, faculty and administrators convene for this ceremony which marks the threshold of full matriculation into the College community.
Each fall, alumni return to campus to celebrate the past, present, and future of Holy Cross. The weekend features academic, social, and athletic events.
Parents, grandparents and other family members are invited to campus each fall to catch up with their student, and explore Holy Cross by taking a tour, cheering at a game and attending Mass, among other opportunities.
On first-year student move-in day, the president of the College presides at this signature Holy Cross tradition. During the Mass, faculty in academic regalia, administration and staff welcome the new students with blessings, and their parents and families wish them well as they begin their new journey.
At the end of each semester, students are invited to take a break from late-night study sessions and refuel at midnight breakfast. Deans and administrators volunteer to serve students popular breakfast items, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage links, bagels and Belgian waffles.
First-year students arriving to campus for move-in day are greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic students, staff and alumni volunteers, all eager to welcome them to Holy Cross and move them into their residence halls.
Celebrated in Mary Chapel on the first day that spring semester classes begin, the service provides a time to reflect on the rich faith traditions that are represented at Holy Cross. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to gather and participate as a community.
A host of events and activities at Summer and Fall Gateways help incoming students acclimate to life at Holy Cross and in Worcester.
The formal ceremony inducting a newly-appointed College president into office. Rev. Philp L. Boroughs, S.J, was installed as the 32nd president of Holy Cross on Sept. 14, 2012.
During one day each spring, members of the Purple Key Society celebrate school spirit by decorating the campus, sponsoring events, and offering giveaways.
Held over two separate weekends in late May or early June, Holy Cross invites alumni to return to campus to reconnect, reminisce and reflect on their Holy Cross experience, and make new friends. Reunion is a celebration for the classes falling on every five-year anniversary.
At the beginning of each academic year, these awards — the highest non-degree recognition bestowed by the College on a graduate — are presented to alumni who are leaders in business, professional or civic life, who live by the highest intellectual and ethical standards, and who are committed to the service of faith and promotion of justice.
Designed for and by seniors on the eve of their final semester, the annual event offers fourth-year students an opportunity to reflect on their journey thus far and to consider how best to use their remaining time at the College to shape the life they want to lead beyond the Hill.
Before crossing the Commencement stage, seniors are invited to celebrate their hard work, determination and accomplishments by taking part in four full days of school-sponsored activities both on and off campus. Past events have included a Boston Harbor Boat Cruise, clambake at the Atlantic Beach Club in Newport, Rhode Island, and a Senior Reflection Luncheon in the Hogan Ballroom.
At the end of each academic year, the Campus Activities Board hosts a concert in the Hart Center featuring a popular musical act. Recent headliners have included Drake, Jessie J, and Lupe Fiasco.
Students celebrate the end of the academic year with a slate of activities including a barbecue, beer garden, carnival, fireworks, outdoor dance party, and pig roast.
Members of the first-year class are welcomed with a weeklong string of events starting from the moment they step on campus.
Each winter, alumni return to campus to celebrate the past, present, and future of Holy Cross. The weekend features academic, social, and athletic events.