Life at Cottey is rich with traditions – some fun, some whimsical, and some poignant. They create powerful bonds from shared experiences that can last long after graduation. 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.
Ducks are an unofficial mascot at Cottey. Many of our more lively traditions are centered around ducks, especially Hermatrude (pictured left), a paper mache duck made by Cottey students in the 1950s.
Hermatrude is the subject of a campus-wide game of hide-and-go-seek. She pops up in the strangest places! When a student finds Hermatrude, she can then hide the duck in a new location. Adding to the fun, the alumnae like to play when they are on campus-there are many stories of alumnae sneaking off with Hermatrude amidst a group of unaware students.
Signing of the Cottey Book
Since 1935, students have signed their names into the same book during Cottey’s Opening Convocation Ceremony. This signing is symbolic of the student’s commitment to academic honesty, the values of the College, and cooperation for the good of all. Each student then receives a daisy, representing their entrance into Cottey.
Having students sign the Cottey Book connects them to the generations of women that have come before them, and those that will come after them. Cottey has a strong community, where students are supported by alumnae and friends of the College. The signing of the Cottey Book is one of the many traditions that solidify this connection.
Hanging of the Greens
Hanging of the Greens is Cottey’s winter holiday celebration. On the first day, students hang wreaths around campus before retiring to the president’s house for cookies and hot cocoa. It’s always a fun time for students to walk with their friends, singing songs and spreading holiday spirit, while beautifying the campus.
The second day of hanging of the greens is a formal dinner. Students are encouraged to wear formal dresses as they start the night with hors d’oeuvre, then move to a fully-decorated dining hall for dinner, pictures, and plenty of holiday cheer.
Cottey realizes some students may not have formal gowns, so the College has a closet full of them, for every shape and size. The dress closet is one of many small examples of the College taking extra steps to make sure its students are cared for, and don’t miss out on the fun.