Convocation is a chance to highlight community accomplishments, points of pride, initiatives, and goals. And it’s an opportunity to enjoy performances by the Mount Holyoke Convocation Choir and the Five College West African Music Ensemble.
As notable as the events on the amphitheater stage may be, the real action arguably unfolds within the stands. Here, Convocation is a visual and sensory delight of the blue, yellow, red, and green class colors—and purple for Frances Perkins scholars—and of balloons, boas, beads, flowers, capes, gowns, body paint, pom-poms, glitter, bubbles, Silly String, tiaras, luau skirts, blow-up friends (dinosaur, pizza slice, etc.), hats, wigs, signs, and shades. And of drums, songs, rattles, cow bells, and noise makers. And lots and lots of raised up cell phones, capturing and sharing the moment.
To be surrounded by a throng of utterly fearless and unequivocally spirited students? It’s exciting. It’s intense. It’s unexpected. It’s surreal. And you won’t want it to stop. (Until it gets too hot and you are ready to get your picnic on at Skinner Green.)
It’s also the perfect introduction to life at a women’s college. Yes, we do things a little differently here. Since 1837, when our College was founded by a visionary woman in a bonnet, we have believed that women could and should do great things. But thoughts of “What will this be like?” and “This is kind of different,” are soon replaced by “This place is amazing!” and “These people inspire me!” Convocation helps kick this transformation into high gear.
Convocation, like the College itself, has transformed over the years. What began in 1931 as a “special service”—a buttoned-up affair in the Abbey Chapel featuring an address by the president and the announcement of student awards—has evolved into a rousing bookend to Commencement. This highly anticipated tradition both ushers in the new academic year and brings the classes, faculty, and staff together.
As Convocation helps you see, feel, and believe, you are part of a community that is driven to achieve, lead, and succeed—and to raise one another up. To shake things up and to make good things happen. This is your College. This is your time. Welcome to Mount Holyoke College!
The two photos above—capturing Convocation from the 1930s—are courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.