With a rich history and passionate W family, traditions have developed since the inception of Mississippi University for Women. While many traditions can be experienced by individual students at any time, some traditions are organized at specific times each year.
New Student Serenade
Historically, this event has taken place the night before classes start in the fall semester. The incoming class of freshmen and transfers march down Serenade Drive to the President’s home singing The W’s traditional class songs and serenade the President on his/her lawn. Afterwards, students enjoy cookies and punch in the President’s home.
Many years ago, two twin ginkgo trees were planted at MUW and its sister institution. Legend has it that if a ginkgo leaf falls from each tree, at the same time, and lands on someone’s shoulder at both institutions, they are destined to fall in love and live happily ever after.
Old Maid’s Gate & Kissing Rock
Legend has it if anyone walked forward through this north campus gate, they would become an old maid unless they kissed the large rock, affectionately known as the “kissing rock,” behind the gate.
During the Civil War, Callaway Hall was used as a hospital. A nurse named Mary Callaway nursed a wounded soldier back to health, and they fell in love. When he went back to war, he promised he would come back for her, but he never did. Mary’s life came to a tragic end when she took her life in the clock tower. She is still rumored to haunt Callaway to this day.
Historians have proven that this folk tale could not possibly be true. Callaway Hall’s famous clock tower was not built until after the Civil War, and Mary Callaway was a teacher and dorm mother during the first years of the II&C.
Orr Chapel Owl
Brave, superstitious students throw pennies at the owl perched on the top of Orr Chapel on the eve of big exams for good luck.
As the largest student organization fundraiser of the year, this event merges the campus and community as student groups provide carnival-style games, food, and entertainment to participants and their family members at the gazebo on Bryan Green. Entertainment through costume contests, live performances, and novelties are also staples of the event.
Singing in the Caf
From the days when McDevitt Hall was the junior/senior dining hall, this tradition has evolved into a tradition primarily carried on through social organizations. In the fall, students can be found singing freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior class songs in Hogarth Cafeteria.
Song Fest is an opportunity for MUW’s four-year social clubs to compete in a song and dance competition. All dances are choreographed by members of their respective organizations. This is a must see event.
The tradition of the 100th Night was introduced in 1992 and has since become one of the most cherished traditions of MUW. This ceremony, which occurs 100 nights before spring graduation is a wonderful way to honor members of the senior class in the last few months of their college careers.
The Magnolia Chain Ceremony
The Mag Chain Ceremony is one of the most treasured traditions at MUW. Although its exact origin is unclear, some form of the Magnolia Chain Ceremony has been a part of commencement at MUW since 1890. The chain was made of daisies in 1894 and was fashioned from other flowers in subsequent years. In 1905, it was decided that the state flower was the most appropriate choice for the chain. The white magnolia blossoms symbolize the purity of achievement, and the green leaves represent the growing experiences of the graduates over the past four years. Tradition holds that graduates who are able to walk away with a magnolia blossom or bud after the ceremony will have good fortune and romance.
The different classes at the university compete in a number of fun and energetic activities as part of Sophomore/Junior and Junior/Senior Rivalry. These rivalries were part of the new member recruitment process for women interested in the 2-Year Social Clubs, but in more recent years, the tradition has opened up to men as well.