Traditions and Celebrations

By being a part of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s unique, long-standing traditions, you can connect yourself with this energetic and generous fellowship as it sustains and celebrates the past, and nurtures your bright future.  With activities such as our whimsical Songfest or the moving Ring Ceremony, you can unite with other students and create memories that last a lifetime.  Of course, many of these experiences are a fun way to blow off steam, but they are also an opportunity for you to build friendships, establish strong roots and to share meaningful experiences. There’s amazing value to being able to look someone in the eye with a Woods ring upon her finger knowing that you both hold a special place in your hearts for The Woods.


The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Ring

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College ring is an enduring symbol that binds our proud traditions to the individual student’s memorable educational experience.  The ring is the single most recognizable image of the College and is more than a piece of jewelry. It honors academic success and sacrifice while demonstrating the pride and loyalty we all share.
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The "Avenue Moment"

We often hear it is the “Avenue Moment” that sets us apart from other colleges. It is the reassuring sense of peace and belonging that is often felt when entering the main gate and driving on The Avenue. It is that voice within that whispers to your spirit and says… “you’re home.”

The Oakleaf Ceremony

Considering that the indescribable magic and quiet assurance of The Woods are two of its most enduring and cherished characteristics, it is only fitting that we have a poignant and secretive rite-of-passage ceremony to properly express them. The Oakleaf Ceremony is a tradition between faculty and the senior class. During this commemoration, seniors are inducted into the alumni association, by turning their rings around. This is an eloquent symbol of growing from an acorn into an oak tree.

Pomeroy Pride

Pomeroy Pride is the spirit of competition, individuality and teamwork. It means never standing idle on the sidelines, but leading the charge with enthusiasm. It is the power to create new directions, expand boundaries and make every experience, success or defeat, add to your character. Pomeroy Pride means surpassing your own expectations. Named in memory of Mary Joseph Pomeroy, SP, ’21, a cherished SMWC alumni and employee, Pomeroy Pride ignites Woods students and alums with the passion to aim for higher standards on every path in life.

The Crosstown Classic

What an excellent display of the Pomeroy spirit. A hometown rivalry winter basketball game between SMWC and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, this annual competition has resulted in 13 trophies for The Woods.  This game is proof of the Pomeroys’ athleticism and unshakable pride.

Midnight Breakfast

Kicking off finals week is the Midnight Breakfast. Faculty and staff cook and serve the students a scrumptious breakfast.  This fun activity shows the students just how supportive the faculty and staff is of their academic success.


As the title suggests, this is a celebration through song.  Each year in the fall, a book of songs is passed down to the junior class.  The new class creates original songs to put in this decades-old book, and also perform new and old songs.  These songs are a coveted secret of Pomeroys.  This experience will show you what it feels like to be connected to the past, while also creating something special for the future.

Alternative Spring Break

A great opportunity for students to give back is Alternative Spring Break.  Taking place every year, this tradition allows 15 or so students and three chaperones to volunteer their time in various parts of the country.  Past trips have included environmental work in Pensacola, Florida, and working with young children at the Head Start program in New Orleans.


Proof that all Pomeroys are much more than a name is the Big/Little tradition. Through this thriving custom, first-year students are taken under the wing of a member of the upperclassmen (their Big). First-year students are taught the values and traditions of the College and guided through the ways of the Woods. This mentorship gives new students a sense of empowerment, community, and pride. Bigs are traditionally revealed to their Littles either on the marble stairs of Le Fer Hall or in a creative way produced by the Big. While the Big/Little program is a tradition, each student can decide whether he/she wants to participate.

Equine Holiday Ride

When imagining this lively tradition, picture in your mind’s eye Paul Revere riding in to town on his galloping horse, only imagine he is bearing the joyful news. The Equine Holiday Ride takes place on study day before finals, and it involves senior equine students and some of our staff riding on horseback, from building to building on campus, singing Christmas carols. It starts early in the morning, when the seniors go pick their horses and decorate them in holiday décor. Such a unique tradition breeds widespread joy and holiday spirit, as well as bringing a contagious feeling of excitement to The Woods --  not to mention easing some of the stress of finals week.