We have a rich, 167-year tradition of empowering students at our college. Today, we offer a personalized, liberal arts education for undergraduate women and men and flexible, specialized programs for our graduate students.

Many of our campus traditions are more than 100-years old but some are recent updates and others date back to the founding of the college. Our combination of innovation and history make our traditions meaningful to our students, faculty, staff, and alums.

Our Traditions

Big Sister & Little Sister Program

The Big Sister & Little Sister Program was established to create meaningful relationships between first-year students and members of the junior class.

Christmas Tree Lighting

The Christmas Tree lighting officially begins the holiday season on campus. Students, faculty, staff, alums, and guests gather around the Columns and enjoy Christmas carols and fellowship around the official College Christmas tree.

Commencement Bibles

One of Columbia College oldest traditions is the presentation of a Bible to each graduating senior, personally signed by members of Columbia College’s faculty and staff. Autographing the Bibles has been not only a meaningful activity for members of the Columbia College community, but also an enjoyable social occasion.

Dad’s Night

Begun in 1968 as Dad’s Day, this event has become a special tradition for Columbia College women and their fathers or special male guest. Held in February, this is a great night for fun and fellowship and includes a dance and games.

Diversity Days

Early in the Spring semester, Columbia College sponsors a series of programs and events intended to highlight issues of diversity. The content of the program ranges from academic offerings to performances and social activities, with the goal of raising awareness and increasing understanding of the similarities and differences that exist within our diverse community.


Sponsored by Omicron Delta Kappa, the Columbia College Follies are original skits presented by students to foster class unity, creativity, and originality. Proceeds from this annual February event go toward ODK scholarships. The first Follies was held in the early 1950s.

Galilean Service and Graduation Communion

The Galilean Service is a worship service of Holy Communion, which is held during Fall Orientation. This time of music and quiet reflection is the first worship service that new students have together. It is intended to unite new students and help them begin the college journey with a spiritual focus. The college journey also ends with a spiritual focus, in a final worship service the afternoon before graduation. Graduation Communion is a time for graduating seniors to celebrate and worship together.

Junior Ring Ceremony

During President Guild’s administration in the late 1920s, class rings were presented to juniors in a chapel ceremony near the conclusion of the junior year. In 1928, the senior class, in academic cap and gown, and the junior class, in white dresses, marched into chapel singing the Alma Mater. The rings, which symbolized the devoted years of mental, physical, and spiritual development, were then formally presented by the College president. By 1942, it had become tradition for the junior class president to receive her ring first and then assist the College president in distributing the rings to the other class members. The ring ceremony is held annually in November.

Ludy Bowl

The annual Ludy Bowl celebration, which started in 1955, is named in honor of Miss Lucille Godbold, a beloved long-time employee of CC. “Miss Ludy” was a 1922 Olympic gold medalist, and taught in the Physical Education program. She was loved by all who knew her, and the flag football game with sophomores and seniors competing against the first-years and juniors, is played in her honor each year.

Mom’s Day

A tradition since 1972, Mom’s Day gives Columbia College students the opportunity to share an enjoyable day with their mothers or a special female guest. Held in November, Mom’s Day includes an address by a keynote speaker, lunch in the Dining Hall, and a variety of other activities.

Savory Award

The Savory Award is given each fall in memory of Dr. Jerold “Jerry” Savory, a long-time faculty member and academic leader at Columbia College, greatly admired by students, faculty and staff. Dr. Savory was recognized during his 26 years at the College for his commitment to personal and academic excellence, ethical leadership, spiritual values, and the well-being of the Columbia College community. This award seeks to honor the Columbia College senior woman who most exemplifies the ideals that guided Dr. Savory’s life.


Surcies are unexpected gifts, and are a special way that Columbia College women show others they care. These small gifts can be purchased for special occasions or for no reason at all. Contact the Alumni Office at 803-786-3645 for information on the surcie packages they offer.

The Doll Collection

The Columbia College Doll Collection is housed in the parlor of Alumnae Hall. The tradition began in 1954, during the centennial celebration, when the Alumni Association decided to dress a doll to represent each of the decades of the College’s existence. In the years following, each class was challenged to dress a doll that represented the popular styles of dress or something special to the women of that year. In 1993, a new tradition was added, and each senior class began to model its doll after the recipient of the “Most Womanly” award, which today is known as the Savory Award—in memory of Dr. Jerold Savory, a long-time faculty member who passed away in 1998. The result of this tradition is a visual history of the diverse women of Columbia College – where we’ve been, and where we are headed.

The Fountain

The fountain in front of the Breed Leadership Center is well known by the Columbia College students for one of the most unique traditions. According to the custom, when a fellow Columbia College student gets engaged, it is her friends’ duty to lure her to the fountain and throw her in as a symbol of her new accomplishment. The trick is to get the soon-to-be bride to the fountain without her knowing and do it with as much grace as possible. It requires some tricky planning but it is all worth it when you see a fellow friend drenched in the fountain scrambling to get out searching for a towel and promising revenge.