Traditions and Annual Events

When you’re an institution that's been around for 185 years, it’s only fitting to have treasured traditions. As a student, you’ll quickly discover that the College’s traditions bring the community closer together and create some of your most memorable Mount Holyoke moments.

Community traditions

Red Pegasus seniors during Convocation 2021

Convocation kicks off the new academic year — and kicks class spirit into high gear.

Students pose near the Mount Holyoke Summit sign on Mountain Day 2021

A College tradition since 1838. Classes are cancelled and students are invited to climb (or ride) to the Summit House atop Mount Holyoke.

Students enjoying milk and cookies

A long-standing College tradition enjoyed by all resident students, M&Cs is a light snack provided as a study break and social event each evening.

Students having fun with a colorful parachute on Pangy Day

In 1980, Pangynaskeia (now commonly called “Pangy Day”) debuted as a Mount Holyoke College tradition celebrating the “total world of women.” Pangy Day is typically held on the last Friday of classes in the spring semester.

Students singing by candlelight during a Vespers concert

Held in some form on campus each December since 1899, this holiday tradition is much anticipated and reliably fills Abbey Chapel.

Mount Holyoke seniors carry a laurel chain in an annual parade.

This moving ritual, which takes place during commencement weekend, marks the transition from MHC student to MHC alum. Alums from all class years come back to campus to take part.

Annual academic events

Students presenting at LEAP 2021

An annual campus-wide event, LEAP Symposium is Mount Holyoke's premier showcase of student summer work, organized by and for Mount Holyoke students.

Collage of students speaking at Senior Symposium

Seniors share the projects, scholarly research, and intellectual passions they have pursued through independent study or upper level coursework.

Annual community events

Collage of presenters at the 2019 BOOM learning conference

An annual learning symposium that meets participants where they are in their learning and comfort in engaging in sessions on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Glascock Poetry Contest logo

An intercollegiate event since 1924. Students are nominated by faculty members, and then judged by a panel of three distinguished poets.

Hortense Parker

Named for the College's first known student of color, this event is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the history, struggles & achievements of women of color.

Crafting a Life in the Arts logo

A biennial daylong career workshop that connects students with alumnae working in the world of the arts.

Four students singing on stage during a performance of the Big Broadcast

A re-creation of a live 1940's radio show featuring the Mount Holyoke College Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles.

Trailblazers of Color Leadership Conference logo

This annual, student-organized conference aims to empower self-identified women and gender minorities of color across the Five Colleges, Pioneer Valley and beyond; including faculty, staff and community members.

Class-specific traditions

Participants in the Big/Little program

Tracing its origins back to the early 1900s, the program partners the Junior Class with the First-Year Class.

A group of students with President Sonya Stephens during DisOrientation

DisOrientation is an ever-evolving tradition, but at its core it serves to build camaraderie between seniors and first-year students.

Photo of elfing gifts outside a door

A first-year and sophomore based tradition. First-year student residence hall doors are unexpectedly “Elf-ed” with small gifts and decorations.

Four class symbols: blue lion, green griffin, red pegasus and yellow sphinx

A tradition since the early 1900s, classes use a color and symbol to identify themselves at class-related activities including Convocation.

The Mount Holyoke College field gate drawn on a graudation cap

The days preceding Commencement are especially alive with tradition for the senior class as well as alums.