Of Daisies and Ducks and Things…
Like in families, traditions at college create powerful bonds through shared memories and experiences. Life at Cottey is rich with traditions - some fun, some whimsical, some poignant. Maybe that's why our alumnae stay so connected to each other and to us.
The great thing about Cottey traditions is that you can pick and choose the ones that are meaningful to you. You're not forced to participate, but we're betting you'll find at least one that you'll want to be part of.
The College sponsors a number of events annually that build camaraderie, recognize excellence and service, and celebrate achievement.
The College sponsors a number of events annually that build camaraderie, recognize excellence and service, and celebrate achievement. Learn more
The Cottey Book
At the beginning of the school year, new students sign the Cottey book to reflect their commitment to personal and academic honesty; you'll see names in there from as far back as 1935.
Meet the Suites
Incoming freshmen have the chance to meet the seniors in the various suites at this event.
The whole Cottey community welcomes alumnae back to campus.
At the beginning of fall semester each freshman is chosen at random (or by legacy) to become a member of the Alphan, Delphian, Emerson, or Magnoperian societies. Back in the day, the societies were book clubs that discussed great works of literature. Today, the societies coordinate campus events and service projects.
In early October, family members are invited for a weekend of special activities.
Campus Work Day
A day in the spring set aside to revitalize the campus.
The Margaret Fritchler Zeran medal is presented annually to the graduating senior judged by vote of the faculty to demonstrate nearest the ideal level of intellect and spirituality, and to have exerted the most positive influence on her peers. The medal is presented at the Honors and Awards Convocation preceding Capping and Commencement so the award-winner can wear the medal during those ceremonies.
Two Hawaiian leis are presented each year by P.E.O. Chapter C, Honolulu, Hawaii. at the Honors and Awards Convocation on Commencement Weekend and are worn at Capping and Commencement. The first lei is presented to the graduate with the highest scholastic average. The second lei is presented to the graduate considered by vote of the faculty to be outstanding in the areas of leadership, student government, and academic, social, and community affairs and who best exemplifies the spirit and ideals of Cottey College.
On the evening before commencement, each graduating senior is "capped" with her mortarboard in a special ceremony by two or three women she has chosen also dressed in white who are special to her.
The capstone of your senior year. On the Sunday following spring final exams, seniors dressed in all white caps and gowns, carrying daisies (check out daisies below to see why) proceed to the Hinkhouse Center for a special ceremony.
The daisy holds a special place in Cottey's history. It was the flower the first young women to attend Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard's college voted to represent them both in the college's colors yellow and white and as its official flower. That flower and those colors are still part of Cottey's tradition today. You'll encounter the daisy as a recurring theme throughout your Cottey experience. Stop and smell
Most notable of these appearances is the Daisy Chain. As part of the Commencement procession, freshman all dressed in white form two lines that start at the front door of the Hinkhouse Center and extend up the sidewalk. Seniors in their white caps and gowns carrying daisies, form a procession with faculty and administrative staff. The procession marches along the "senior sidewalks" in front of the Chapel and Austin Street, toward the Library and then moves through the "Daisy Chain" of freshmen into Hinkhouse Center. Following the ceremony, freshmen pick up the daisies the seniors were carrying and once again form the "Daisy Chain" through which new graduates exit.
Watch Out for Ducks
Legend has it that years ago when the College was first founded, some senior girls came upon a duck stuck in a frozen pond near the campus. The seniors rescued the duck, and the duck became the official mascot of the Cottey senior class. Fast forward a few decades to now and you'll see ducks - mostly the yellow kind you find in your tub - have proliferated on Cottey's campus. You'll see them in faculty and staff offices, and around all the student living areas. There are two particular traditions inspired by the duck. Quack, quack
The Duck Game
We're not going to give too much away on this one as it's part of an ongoing competition between Cottey freshmen and seniors. Suffice it to say you'll know when the game starts, the rules and details of the game are clearly presented, participation is optional, and the outcome is totally fun.
Again, we're not going to give too much away about how these jackets are created or what happens with them as that's part of their mystique and a special ritual for seniors. What we can say is that these jackets get to be pretty elaborate (see the photo gallery), and they're worn by seniors during certain traditions.
Each class at Cottey has a number of special traditions. Whether you're a freshman or a senior, you'll have the chance to get involved and represent your class proudly. See here
Adopted by the freshman class as its color. First-year students will wear baby blue articles of clothing and accessories to signify their allegiance.
Senior class emblem imprinted on sweatshirts and items passed down from class to class. FYI, at Cottey, the second-year students are called seniors because in the early years, the College had grade school and high school programs. The students in the junior college were called juniors and seniors. In 1967, many years after the grade school and high school were closed, the juniors became freshmen.
Freshman class emblem imprinted on sweatshirts and other items.
Kind of a welcome to freshman who are treated to a serenade and other activities.
Shorthand for secret pal. In each hall seniors draw a freshman's name. Then, like secret Santa, your secret pal leaves friendly and encouraging notes using a code name they've selected i.e. Peanut Butter and Jelly or Gumby and Pokey. It's up to the senior to decide at which point in the year she will reveal her identity.
Acronym for "Cottey College Community Chest," a week of fun activities organized by Rotaract (a campus organization affiliated with Rotary International) to raise money for selected charities.
Song & Dance
Maybe it's the place, maybe it's the experience, maybe it's the fact that we love to have fun. Whatever it is, we like to burst into song and dance and occasional other theatrics. More
Dottey Cottey goes back to 1940 when Doris Kingsbury Gayzagian, Class of 1942, created the character to illustrate a typical Cottey student in the student newspaper. From that time onward Dottey took on a life of her own, appearing in publications, calendars, note cards. She was incarnated into a doll, and her likeness even appeared on lapel pins. Today seniors dress up as Dottey to emulate their version of the old-fashioned Cottey ideal.
Emanon is a nightclub-style senior class fund-raiser complete with skits, spoofs of campus happenings, and songs. One thing's for sure…you are bound to laugh.
Come evening, don't be surprised to hear a group of seniors break out into song in front of a group of freshmen, or to see freshmen singing to seniors. Serenades are a loved tradition at Cottey and can either bring you to tears or make you burst out laughing, either way you'll love the experience.
This is where freshmen are let into some of the senior class' secrets. They get to hear the senior songs for the first time, learn more about the senior class mascot (the aforementioned duck) and get a look at those duck jackets.
We've said it before, food is an important part of Cottey life and part of the way we celebrate too. There are a number of traditions tied to food. Curious?
The seniors keep the details of this tradition pretty close to their vests. Let's just say it marks the official close to the Duck Game for the academic year.
A passing of the torch (usually a flower or other memento) from outgoing class and organization presidents to their successors.
Saturday Night Suppers
Held usually during Founder's Weekend or by special arrangement, Saturday Night Suppers are Cottey's version of The Sing-Off where students sit with their classmates in the dining room and sing class songs back and forth.
Sit-down dinners in Raney Dining Room are served occasionally. All the students enter the dining room together and are seated. Then a family style meal is served. This recalls the early years of the College when all meals were served this way.
Centennial Room Dinner
Every other year, each suite is treated to a special semiformal dinner in the the Centennial Room.
Yellow and White Dinner
On the Friday night of Commencement Weekend, seniors are honored by the freshmen during this dinner. Parents of the graduating women are invited to attend.
As you might expect, holiday seasons are a special time at Cottey in particular, Halloween and Christmas are memorable on campus. Boo
Each hall has its own Halloween tradition - a scavenger hunt or haunted house -organized by the hall officers. Halloween might also be your best chance to see Vera, Cottey's official ghost. In 1920, when Cottey had a high school for women, high school senior Vera Alice Neitzert died tragically on May 17 of severe burns received when her nightgown caught fire while she and friends were making candy in a chafing dish in a suite sitting room in Main Hall. Fifty years later the legend of Vera the ghost took hold when students practicing piano in Rosemary Hall heard strange noises. Even though Rosemary Hall has since been torn down, the fire occurred in Main Hall and Vera died in the hospital in Nevada. The legend of her ghost still remains.
Tearing of the Square
During the days leading up to finals and winter break, students will gather in the parlor of their respective residence halls each evening to count down the days until winter break begins.
Suprise is a Christmas tradition that is planned by seniors for freshmen.
Hanging of the Greens
In early December, students mark the coming holidays with a weekend of activities that start with a chapel service and the hanging of wreaths decorated by various student organizations. As each wreath is hung at a building students sing carols. When the final building is adorned, everyone heads to the President's House for snacks and warm drinks. On Saturday of the Hanging of the Greens weekend, the party gets in to full swing with an awesome buffet dinner that's followed by a formal dance. The greens hang through finals.