Ivy Day (United States)

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Ivy Day
IvyBates College.jpg
Ivy growing on the side of Hathorn Hall, featuring respective classes' Ivy Stones
Named afterThe ivy plant, Hedera
TypeUniversity and college tradition
New England, Northeastern United States
Founded in 1873

Ivy Day is an annual ceremony in which an ivy stone is placed on either a residential, academic or administrative building or ground to commemorate academic excellence. The ceremony is most known for being practiced among older colleges in the Northeastern United States. It is most associated with the Ivy League and a group of small liberal arts college known as the Little Ivies. Some institutions announce members of Phi Beta Kappa and specialized honor designations for students.[1] Some classes donate to the college, in the form gates, facades, and door outlines,[2] by inscribing or creating their own version of symbolic icons of the college's seal or other prominent insignia. The ivy stones are usually decorated with the graduation date and a symbol that represents the college as a whole or the class as a whole. The most common ivy stone is one-by-two feet and is usually made out of workable stone.[3]

On occasion students have featured prominent alumni on their class ivy stones or have selected to feature an engraving of a member of their graduating class. Since 1873 at the University of Pennsylvania and since 1879 at Bates College, students have unveiled class ivy stones at the annual ivy day preceding commencement.[4][5] Students may also have a selective procession prior to the official commencement walk to honor each stone being placed on the buildings. On some occasions students plant ivy in front or on the side of their ivy stones.[6] Princeton University also places class ivy stones on the walls of its buildings, a few days prior to their commencement. Students are known to give speeches at Ivy Day to commemorate their time and work at the college.[7] Select medical schools also participate in Ivy Day prior to their White Coat Ceremony.[8]

Ivy Day Participants
School Location Type Founding Motto Ivy League Little Ivy
Bates College Lewiston, Maine Private March 16, 1855 Amore Ac Studio ("With Ardor and Devotion") Green check.png
Bowdoin College Brunswick, Maine Private June 24, 1794 Ut Aquila Versus Coelum ("As an eagle towards the sky") Green check.png
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey Private January 1, 1746 Dei Sub Numine Viget ("Under God's Power She Flourishes") Green check.png
Smith College Northampton, Massachusetts Private December 3, 1871 Ἐν τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν ("In Virtue [One Gains] Knowledge")
Tulane University New Orleans, Louisiana Private March 1, 1834 Non Sibi Sed Suis ("Not for oneself, but for one's own")
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Private January 15, 1740 Leges sine moribus vanae ("Laws without morals are useless") Green check.png
University of Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska Public February 15, 1869 Literis Dedicata et Omnibus Artibus ("Dedicated to Letters and All the Arts")


  1. ^ "Smith College: Events". www.smith.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  2. ^ Network, University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer. "Ivy Day | Innocents Society | University of Nebraska–Lincoln". innocents.unl.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  3. ^ "Penn History-ICA Ivy Stone Brochure". www.library.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  4. ^ Penn website (accessed February 27, 2009)
  5. ^ Bates College website Archived 2009-04-14 at the Wayback Machine (accessed February 27, 2009)
  6. ^ Bates College website Archived 2009-04-14 at the Wayback Machine (accessed February 27, 2009)
  7. ^ UPENN website (accessed February 27, 2009)
  8. ^ "Tulane University - School of Medicine - ivy-day". tulane.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-31.