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Ivy Planting during the 1922 commencement exercises. courtesy MHC Archives


Tree Planting Ceremony in 1969.
courtesy MHC Archives


Legacy is a large part of Mount Holyoke's traditions. As seniors head out into the world, they look back and hope that they won't soon be forgotten. One of the oldest traditions of Mount Holyoke College, ivy planting is a tradition that offers a way to leave a bit of remembrance behind is that of ivy and tree planting.

Ivy planting - During commencement ceremonies, the senior class processed in an orderly line, the president and vice president at the head. Bearing small plants of ivy, they lead their classmates to a designated spot against a wall. The building varied, from academic to residential. The class year was carved into a stone of one such building. Under this tree, the class president and vice-president used a silver trowel to plant their bit of ivy as their class watched, quiet and solemn. A student bearing the position of The ivy would grow and spread over the building, enhancing the old brickwork, creating a lasting, living legacy. However, ivy planting ended with the Class of 1963.

Tree planting - The class of 1964 opted to plant a tree rather than the traditional ivy. Trees have always been an important part of Mount Holyoke, and this ivy-replacement soon became the new standard. However, with the renewal in interest in landscaping the campus and the growth in popularity of senior gift giving, tree planting did not stay long as it became part of the legacy of the senior gift. As the choice of tree is not always at the top of the list of possible ways to give back to the school.



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This page was created by Jennifer Loomer '04 and Katherine Underwood '05 in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 and