FROM READERS: Columbia College students celebrate achievements in an Ivy Chain

Saturday, May 11, 2013 | 6:11 p.m. CDT
Students walk through Rogers Gate for the last time before entering the world beyond as college graduates.

Brandi Herrman is the associate director of public relations at Columbia College.

Students at Columbia College celebrated their achievements in a small, intimate ceremony hours before a traditional commencement ceremony began. Commencements are typically similar between institutions – that is what makes them special. Every graduate, from every institution, has an opportunity to take part in a similar ceremony, making it a bonding experience. However, at Columbia College, students are given the opportunity to celebrate their achievements in an Ivy Chain ceremony, dating back to 1900. This ceremony, which began with only women (we were, after all, a two-year women’s college in 1900) wearing long gowns, lives on today. Participants today still get dressed up, but there are men and women, younger and older. Families look different, too. Attendees are not just faculty. They are in attendance today, but those looking on include parents, siblings, children, spouses, grandchildren and significant others. Our population has diversified, but the ceremony remains the same.

Today two women, a mother and her daughter, walked, one in front of the other, to participate in a ceremony that signifies our students’ movement from classmates, inextricably linked through the college experience, to responsible and educated citizens, ready to move into the world beyond Rogers Gate. Every year participants in the Ivy Chain ceremony are given the opportunity to celebrate the next step of their lives through a standard, yet beautiful, commencement ceremony. But they also are privileged to belong to the Columbia College family, which finds ways to distinguish itself through ceremonies such as Ivy Chain.

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This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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