Traditions

Our campus traditions will become yours. From Shield Day each fall to the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony every December, you’ll make memories here. 
 

student leaving handprint on dog statue

Shield Day

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 carved in wood that reflects an inspirational motto. The motto helps guide the freshmen throughout their college years and throughout life.

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 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 includes entertainment, informative educational sessions, great meals, Dominican Penguin scrimmages, as well as fun family games. 

Tree-Lighting Ceremony

To celebrate the beginning of the holiday season, the Dominican community gathers to light the tree that marks the entrance to campus, directly outside of Angelico Hall. Students, faculty, staff and friends join for an evening of caroling, cookie decorating and hot cocoa and general holiday merriment. 

Paint the Dog

What began as a spirited act of rebellion, is now an official Dominican tradition. Seniors gather on Meadowlands lawn to "secretly" leave their mark on the campus dog statue before they graduate. 

Baccalaureate Mass, Hood Ceremony and Commencement

Held the day prior to Commencement, the 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.

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.