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African Violets

First-, second-, and third-year women of color assist the ALANA Senior Council (formerly the Council of Black Seniors) in activities during the academic year, notably the all-campus Baccalaureate Service, which the ALANA Senior Council has sponsored since 1991 to complement the academic rites of the Commencement ceremony.

Awarding of the Prizes

Scholastic prizes and awards are presented by the Dean of the College and the Dean of Studies.

Baccalaureate Service

Presented by the ALANA Senior Council (formerly the Council of Black Seniors). A celebration, rooted in the tradition of the black church, of faith and spirituality in recognition of academic achievement. Open to the entire Vassar community of graduates and families.

Daisy Chain

The traditional Daisy Chain forms an important part of Commencement exercises at the college. The tradition dates from the late 1880s when members of the sophomore class decorated the Chapel for Class Day with daisies picked in nearby fields. Later on, the decorations took the form of a rope of daisies to mark reserved seats for the seniors. In 1894, the story goes, a member of the graduating class suggested that the sophomores pick up the chain and carry it from the Chapel to the 1894 class tree where a ceremony of burying the class records took place. From then on, the carrying of a Daisy Chain became a feature of Vassar’s Class Day ceremonies, the sophomores escorting their “sister class” to the senior class tree and laying the floral rope around it in a wide circle, within which the graduates sang their class song for the last time. Men joined the Daisy Chain at the May 30, 1971, Commencement. Today the chain leads the recessional of seniors to Main Circle where it is displayed for the seniors and their Commencement guests. See the video, Daisy Chain: Then and Now.

Kente Cloth Ceremony

Black and African American alumnae/i will present Kente cloth stoles for seniors to wear with their caps and gowns during Commencement. This ceremony marks the transition from Vassar and welcomes the seniors to the African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College (AAAVC) family.

Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Graduation Celebration

Alumnae/i of Asian and Pacific descent will present identifying senior graduates with a red satin stole to wear with their caps and gowns during Commencement. This ceremony marks the seniors’ transition to the world outside Vassar and welcomes them to the alumnae/i community.

The Lavender Graduation

The Lavender Graduation is sponsored by the LGBTQ Center for graduating seniors who identify as queer, questioning, and allies to the queer community. Lavender tassels are given to all seniors in attendance to demonstrate their pride and support for Vassar’s LGBTQ community.