Traditions and Annual Events


When you’re the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning for women, it’s only fitting to have some 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.

Members of a senior class enjoying their last Covocation


Convocation kicks off the new academic year — and kicks class spirit into high gear.
Image of Famliy and Friends Weekend

Family and Friends Weekend

A weekend in October for family and friends to experience the beautiful Mount Holyoke campus, culture of academic excellence and vibrant cocurricular life.
Mountain Day 2016

Mountain Day

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 ice cream on Founder's Day, posing with a cardboard cutout of founder Mary Lyon

Founder's Day

On Founder’s Day, Mount Holyoke College raises a spoon to the bravery and vision of its founder, Mary Lyon.
Image of students singing by candlelight

Annual Vespers concerts

Held in some form on campus each December since 1899, this holiday tradition is much anticipated and reliably fills Abbey Chapel.
Students outside on Pangy Day running under a nylon balloon.

Pangy Day

In 1980, Pangynaskeia (now commonly called “Pangy Day”) debuted as a Mount Holyoke College tradition celebrating the “total world of women.”
this is a photograph of Mount Holyoke students participating in the annual Laurel Parade.

The Laurel Parade

This moving ritual, which takes place during commencement weekend, marks the transition from MHC student to MHC alumna.
Students enjoying M&Cs

M&Cs (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.
Junior "bigs" and first-year "littles" in 2016

Big/Little Program

Siblings for life. Tracing its origins back to the early 1900s, the program pairs up a junior (the “Big”) with an incoming first-year (the “Little”).
Dis-O 2017!: Students with President Sonya Stephens


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 students receive small gifts over the course of the week from a sophomore ‘Elf.’
Image of the four MHC class symbols

Class Colors and Symbols

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

Annual Events

Photo of a student giving a presentation during the LEAP symposium

LEAP Symposium

An annual campus-wide event, LEAP Symposium is Mount Holyoke's premier showcase of student summer work, organized by and for Mount Holyoke students.
BOOM logo surrounded by photos of speakers taking part in BOOM 2019

BOOM: Building on our Momentum

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

Hortense Parker Celebration

Named for the College's first known student of color, an event to celebrate & raise awareness of the history, struggles & achievements of women of color.
excerpt from poem by Irene Glascock

Glascock Poetry Contest

An intercollegiate event since 1924. Students are nominated by faculty members, and then judged by a panel of three distinguished poets.
A collage of students who are giving presentations, along with the words "Senior Symposium" overlay

Senior Symposium

Seniors share the projects, scholarly research, and intellectual passions that demonstrates depth of research and analysis during their senior year.
Staceyann Chin woctlc

Annual Women of Color Conference

The Women of Color Trailblazers Leadership Conference seeks to empower self-identifying women of color across the Five Colleges, Pioneer Valley and beyond.
Crafting a Life in the Arts in rainbow colored letters.

Crafting a Life in the Arts

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