Scripps Traditions

Scripps College is steeped in traditions that have withstood the test of time, some of the oldest and most beloved of which are woven into the commemoration and pageantry of Commencement. Graduates from each class become part of the College’s distinguished history, carrying forth the Scripps legacy.


Scripps College Ring

Scripps’ ring has retained its original design of unpolished gold topped with a relief of the College seal, La Semeuse, which means “she who sows,” since around the 1940s. La Semeuse is a representation of the good seeds of thought, action, and life and was chosen by the faculty in the 1927-28 academic year.

Around the mid-19th century, a tradition began in which outgoing seniors presented a ring to each of the rising juniors who had passed their qualifying exams. Now, Scripps graduates don this distinctive, custom ring after they pass through the elms and ascend the graduation stage.


The history and pageantry of academic regalia go back to the 11th century, during the High Middle Ages, and grows out of the dress worn by the clerics of that period, as most knowledge disseminated by early universities was theological or ecclesiastical.  

The bachelor’s gown is plain with long, pointed sleeves; Scripps’ gowns of sage green are distinctive among undergraduate institutions. The bachelor’s hood three feet in length and are lined with the official color of the college conferring the degree and trimmed in velvet. At Scripps, the trimming is white and brown, reflecting the College’s historic curricular strengths in the arts, letters, humanities, and fine arts.

Ivy Chain

Clad in white dresses, honored members of the junior class line the aisle of the graduation ceremony while holding a garland of ivy as graduates pass through. After the ceremony, they lay out the ivy chain on Bowling Green in the shape of the class year. This tradition is a symbolic gesture of the camaraderie between the classes and is a way for the incoming seniors to celebrate outgoing seniors.

Matriculating InCommencing Out  

For 30 years, since 1990, incoming first-year students process through the Ella Strong Denison Library east door to symbolize the start of their educational journey with the College and their admittance into the world of knowledge. Once in the library, they sign their class book. After the processional, the door is locked until Commencement Day, when graduating seniors exit through the doors before processing onto the graduation stage.


As the graduates process out of the Denison doors, Scripps alumnae gift each student a long-stemmed rose as a welcome to the alumnae community.