State Teachers College at Bridgewater, Massachusetts Commencement, June 1938

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State Teachers College at Bridgewater, Massachusetts Commencement, June 1938





Length: 03:42
Black & White, Silent

Graduates file from Horace Mann Auditorium (and turn to walk onto the steps of the Administration Building). Faculty and guests fill seats placed at the bottom of the stairs in front of the building. Class President George F. Johnson and the Guard of Honor plant an ivy vine along the foundation on the north side of the Administration Building and then return to the formation on the stairs in front of the building. The Ivy Oration is delivered by an unidentified speaker, followed by a trumpet call. The graduates proceed down the Administration Building steps and then form a ring in the quadrangle, surrounded by a ring of Juniors, and an outermost ring of spectators. The graduates then sing the Alma Mater, which is shown on a title card:

O Alma Mater, thy children strive
To keep thy faith alive
O Alma Mater, we sing for thee
This song of loyalty.
O Alma Mater, they voice alone
Will guide in paths unknown.

The graduates link hands in a circle on the quadrangle, each holding an ivy vine. At the end, the graduates and spectators intermingle.


The tradition of the Ivy Exercises (march, oration, and planting) began in 1902. A version of the “Significance of the Ivy March” was included in the many of the college yearbooks in the mid-1930s:

“The trumpet calls represent the call to duty, especially for the Seniors. The oak boughs held by the underclassmen symbolize to the Seniors the everlasting protection of the College. The ivy, which is planted and also carried by each graduate, symbolizes the spirit of comradeship and good fellowship. The daisy chain carried by the Junior women represents a guard of honor for the Seniors. Finally, the "Alma Mater" sung by the Seniors at the conclusion of the March, signifies the continual renewal of their loyalty to Bridgewater.”

The tradition of the Ivy Exercises ended sometime in the late 1950s.

This excerpt is from a 50-minute 16mm compilation film that was made in the early 1950s. The compilation film consists of both color and black & white segments, most filmed without sound, dating from 1935 to 1950. The BSU Archives and Special Collections has not uncovered any documentation or additional information about the compilation film and who produced it.

Sometime in the mid-1980s a VHS video recording was made of the projected 16mm film in an attempt to archive it, and the original film reel was probably discarded. The VHS recording was transferred to a digital format in 2015.

State Teachers College at Bridgewater, Massachusetts Commencement, June 1938