Scripps Traditions Celebrate the College’s Past, Present, and Future

Scripps College has a long history of distinctive traditions. From the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester, these traditions help students come together in community and celebrate each other’s academic achievements—all in ways that are uniquely Scripps.


The Matriculation Ceremony began in 1990 with the arrival of President Nancy Bekavac. During New Student Programs and Orientation (NSPO), first-year students process through Ella Strong Denison Library’s wooden East Door to sign their class registrar book, signifying the beginning of their educational journey at Scripps. When the ceremony is over, the East Door is once again locked for all other days of the year save Commencement.

Olive Harvest

Scripps’ traditional Olive Harvest is an event that furthers the College’s sustainability efforts by utilizing the campus’s edible plants as a food source. Since 2012, Scripps has invited Claremont College students, faculty, and staff, as well as the local community, to participate in harvesting the College’s olives when conditions have been ripe. The harvested fruit is then pressed into olive oil. The olive oil has previously received recognition in international competitions.

Wednesday Tea

Scripps’ teatime tradition dates to 1931, when individual teas were held separately in the residence halls’ browsing rooms. Now, Scripps hosts weekly Wednesday teas in Seal Court, with each tea hosted by a different program, organization, or initiative. Students and faculty from across The Claremont Colleges nosh on pastries, veggies, and tea while they learn about students’ academic achievements, clubs and organizations, and opportunities such as Scripps-funded research fellowships and Study Abroad and Global Education.

Capstone Day

Like the Olive Harvest, Capstone Day is a more recent tradition. Since 2008, The Claremont Colleges community comes together each May to celebrate Scripps seniors’ academic achievements and learn about their outstanding senior thesis projects. Nominated by faculty, senior presenters share their original research in a range of fields and disciplines, from the arts and humanities to social sciences and STEM. Often, the projects are interdisciplinary in nature—a classic representation of the Scripps educational experience.

Graffiti Wall

Since the College’s first class graduated in the early 1930s, Scripps seniors have left their mark on Graffiti Wall. Each spring, the graduating class inscribes a section of Graffiti Wall with student signatures and a mural representing their time at the College. Decorating the open-air passageway that connects Toll and Browning residence halls, the collection of artwork invites students and alumnae to reflect on the College’s 96-year history and how Scripps has grown and changed since its founding.


There are many opportunities for celebration throughout students’ senior year, but Commencement is undoubtedly the culmination. Denison Library’s East Door opens for a second time as graduating seniors exit, signifying the beginning of the Commencement ceremony and the end of their educational journey at Scripps. Graduates each receive a rose before they process across the campus to Elm Tree Lawn, where their achievements are celebrated by their families, loved ones, and members of the Scripps community.