From the Desk of Dean Waite

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Chatham Traditions


Many of Chatham’s traditions came about during its time as a women’s-only college, but today we have several traditions to support our ever-changing campus community.  We sincerely hope that all of our students – undergraduate, graduate and continuing education – will come out to experience the traditions that make Chatham such a special place to be.

Opening Convocation (August) marks the traditional opening of the Academic year.  We celebrate by welcoming the incoming class and kicking off our Global Focus while coming together as a community.

New Student Ice Cream Social (September) is a time for new students to connect with alumnae and learn about the many experiences that await them as a student and future alumna.

Mocktails (September) is a chance for student organizations to get creative in organizing a non-alcoholic week.  This event is sometimes featured during Harvest Fun Fest or as part of Alcohol Awareness Week.

Harvest Fun Fest (October) is a community-based tradition which includes fall-themed family fun activities like face painting, a pumpkin patch, and great treats.  Each student organization participates and sets up an activity for the Chatham and surrounding community to enjoy.

Ghost Walk (October) is a chance for students, alumnae and community to learn about all the fun, spooky stories surrounding many of our buildings on campus.  Students serve as guides for this walk around campus and the event culminates in a small gathering.

Halloween Dinner (October) is a chance for students, faculty, staff and their families to enjoy a Halloween themed meal while they compete for prizes in our costume contest.

Battle of the Classes (November) is a weeklong event that has each class competing in several activities across campus.  This student favorite is sure to build class and school spirit!

Song Contest (November) is a more than 70-year old tradition where classes re-write lyrics to popular songs and perform for their classmates competition style.  This is a student favorite that is talked about all year long!

Thanksgiving Dinner (November) is a time for the entire campus to come together in celebration of the Holiday season.  This family style dinner allows students, alumni, faculty & staff to connect and celebrate.

Candlelight, Chatham Eggnog, and Holiday Ball (December) is one of the most festive nights of the year.  The candlelight service is hosted by the Chatham Choir with traditional music and songs.  Following the service, the entire campus celebrates with a formal gathering over Eggnog and a holiday dance celebration sponsored by Chatham Activities Board.

Moonlight Breakfast (December) is a chance for students to take a break from studying for finals while faculty and staff serve a late night breakfast!

Sledding on Chapel Hill is a tradition based entirely on the snow.  Students celebrate the snowy weather by sledding down the steep hill.

House Olympics (March) is a time for the Residence Halls to show…who’s the best!  This week-long competition helps build community among residents with a little healthy competition.

Spring Formal (April) is a chance to celebrate the end of the spring semester with dinner and a night of dancing.  This off campus dance allows students the chance to celebrate the coming end of the semester.

Airband & Senior Skits (April) is a time for the Chatham rock-stars to come out!  Students lip-synch and perform choreography or skits to their favorite songs.

Declare Your Major Day is a way of providing a convenient means for students to declare their majors by the second semester of their sophomore year. The event is held over the lunch and dinner hours. Faculty from various departments and programs meet with students to sign the official declarations. Each student who declares receives a Gerber daisy.

Tutorial one of the requirements for graduation from Chatham University is the successful completion of a tutorial project which includes the writing of a paper on the subject selected. The project is normally undertaken in the senior year although in some departments the work begins in the junior year. The tutorial project is usually undertaken in two consecutive terms. Once their tutorial is complete, students receive a special “tutorial button” to display proudly.

University Day (April) Chatham was granted university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on May 1, 2007.  This date marks Chatham’s newest tradition, University Day.  A day for the entire campus community to come together to participate in community-building and fun activities.

: Closing Convocation the traditional close of the academic year is much less formal than Opening Convocation.  Seniors wear their gowns and tutorial hats which they decorate to represent their personality and/or tutorial topic.

: University Picnic a cook-out for all students, faculty and staff  and the traditional May-pole dance.

: Buckets & Blossoms the Chatham community come together to clean and plant flowers around the Chatham campus.

: Senior Dinner is a night for the graduating seniors to reminisce with their Chatham sisters, faculty and staff that made their college experience.

: Tutorial Bonfire is much anticipated by the seniors!  This is the chance for the seniors to burn copies of their tutorial and research, and celebrate accomplishing this milestone.

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