This year The W is continuing its cherished tradition of the Magnolia Chain Ceremony.
The ceremony will be held outdoors on Saturday, May 11, at 8 a.m. on the Callaway Lawn. It takes place before the first graduate ceremony, which is at 9 a.m.
“This year we have asked Joey Barnes to come speak to our seniors at Mag Chain about graduating and how to be successful once you are out in the world,” said Katlyn Bryant, Student Programming Board Director.
Since 1890 the Magnolia Chain Ceremony has been included in MUW commencement exercises.
Anyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, but it is specifically given for graduating seniors and their families.
Originally in 1894, the chain was made of daisies. Other flowers were used in the following years.
However, in 1905 it was determined that the Mississippi state flower, the magnolia, would be used to make the chain.
The magnolia represents many honorable attributes for The W’s graduates.
Purity of achievement is symbolized by the white of the blossom. Growing experiences from the past years at The W is symbolized by the green leaves.
Tradition states that the graduates who are able to get a magnolia will have good fortune and romance.
At the end of the ceremony, graduates rush to the front to be the first to acquire a magnolia. Once a student has one in hand, he or she raises it up in the air to show everyone.
There will be one magnolia for each senior. This was not always the case, however.
In the 1950s and 1960s, there were fewer flowers than graduates. Because each student wanted to walk away with a flower, the seniors would fight their way through each other and run to get one.“Back in the mid twentieth century, there were generally some injuries like sprained ankles and stomped on hands,” explained Bridget Pieschel, professor of English.
Now the only form of competition involved is seeing which student will be the first to get one, though every student will walk away with a magnolia in hand.