Unique Traditions

The Penguin, The Habit, The Tuxedo

The penguin is Dominican's school mascotThe Habit is the name of the student newspaper.The Tuxedo is the annual on-campus literary magazine.

The source of inspiration for all of the above derives from the black-and-white habits the sisters wear. The sisters approve of and enjoy the playful metaphors.


Shield Day

Shield Day is a beautiful sight and a fascinating story. Historically, what began in the 12th century when Saint Dominic Guzman created the Dominican order, now continues every fall when the Dominican seniors officially greet the incoming freshmen with a special gift: an illustrated shield that reflects an inspirational motto.

The motto the seniors write helps guide the freshmen throughout their college years and throughout life.

The shields displayed at Shield Day are colorfully painted on wood. After 1961, the shields were turned into stained glass renditions.

Shield Ceremony Dominican Traditions

Today, the shields are hand-crafted wood carvings. The wood carvings are presented each year at Commencement.

All of Dominican's shields, dating back to the early 1920s, are displayed on campus in the Meadowlands Residence Hall, Guzman Lecture Hall and the Shield Room.


Family Weekend

During Family Weekend, Dominican invites its students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff to explore the campus, experience Dominican traditions, and meet with students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends.

The event kicks off with Convocation where President Marcy recognizes the academic achievements of Dominican students. The weekend is full of entertainment, informative educational sessions, great meals, Dominican Penguin scrimmages as well as fun family games. See 2014 Family Weekend images. 

Spirit Day Unique Traditions



Baccalaureate Mass, Hood Ceremony, Commencement

Graduation Dominican Unique Tradition

Held the day prior to Commencement, Baccalaureate Mass is a unique Dominican tradition. Students and their families, faculty, staff and friends of the University are invited to attend.

On the eve of Commencement, Dominican honors the academic achievement of graduating students with The Hood Ceremony. Each graduating senior and graduate student receives a hood, which is a colorful, historic symbol of scholastic excellence.

This ceremony is a time-honored tradition in which the students and faculty wear their academic regalia. Conferral of the hood symbolizes that students have joined the community of educated people.

On a Saturday morning in May, the campus community joins graduating students, their families and friends for Commencement. The Dominican tradition includes a procession led by a bagpiper. Graduates cross the stage and receive their diplomas in the outdoor amphitheater of Forest Meadows.


VoteSmart Challenge

Vote Smart Unique Traditions

In 2008 Dominican created VoteSmart Challenge to help students, faculty, staff, and community members learn about important policy issues related to the 2008 election between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

In 2010, VoteSmart Challenge was held in response to California Gubernatorial Election between Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman. The third and final gubernatorial debate took place on Dominican campus at Angelico Hall.