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The Dartmouth
June 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Class Day ceremony dates from 1854

The Class of 1994 revived an old tradition yesterday when they symbolically broke their ties with the College by placing pieces of a long cedar garland on the stump of the Lone Pine.

Adapting a tradition from the College's very first Class Day ceremony in 1854, seniors sat inside a long cedar garland placed around the Bema and listened to speeches by their classmates, administrators and faculty.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, each senior broke off a piece of garland and placed it on top of the Lone Pine stump, which is located on a hillock between the Bema and Bartlett Tower.

Last year graduating seniors drank a toast in clay mugs and then ceremoniously smashed them at the base of the Lone Pine. But the mugs did not break cleanly and several students sustained minor injuries from shards of clay.

Students again used clay cups engraved with the letter D and their class year, but this time as candle holders in the candle lighting ceremony last night.

"I think it is a strong adaptation of an old tradition," Senior Class President Dan Garodnick said. "The candle lighting ceremony is by far the most moving event of [Senior Week]."

For more than 100 years, seniors traditionally smashed clay pipes on Class Day.

But the clay pipes ceremony became controversial after Native American students at the College objected to the ceremony because pipes are considered sacred objects in their culture. The tradition was discontinued.

Many other events were organized for Senior Week. Many seniors returned to Mt. Moosilauke for the first time since their freshman fall for hiking and square dancing.

Choral concerts, a movie, canoeing, a class picnic, a reception at the President's house and a pre-graduation gala ball were other planned activities.