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Traditions & Celebrations


  Mass of the Holy Spirit

College Quad, during the First Week of Classes.
Giving thanks and asking God's blessing and help during the new academic year, students, faculty, & staff join together in front of Cornelia Hall (the first College building). The President commissions the new Student Leaders (Club Presidents, Resident Assistants, Student Campus Ministers, and Athletic Team Captains) for their service, and the whole Iona community re-commits itself to upholding the College Mission.

Welcome Back Barbecue immediately follows the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Sponsored by Office of Mission and Ministry and Student Development.


  September 11 Memorial Service

Memorial Park (in front of Ryan Library), on or near September 11.
An inter-faith prayer service remembers and gives thanks for the lives of all those lost on September 11, 2001, especially the fifteen young alumni of Iona College who died on that day.
Sponsored by the Office of Office of Mission and Ministry.

  Fall Convocation

Christopher J. Murphy Auditorium, Weekday in September (date announced each fall).
The President delivers a "State of the College" report to all interested members of the community; reception follows at Ryan Library.
Sponsored by the Office of the President.

  Friends of Edmund

Friends of Edmund is an ecumenical opportunity for students to reflect on their service experience, focus on a particular dimension of Edmund Rice's life and apply that aspect to their own lives today.
“Friends of Edmund and Hospitality” is held monthly in the Robert V. LaPenta Student Union End Zone. Free supper immediately follows the program. All are welcome!

  Catholic Intellectual Tradition Luncheon Symposium

Faculty Reception Room, Spellman Hall, Five times each year
This Lunch Series promotes an open, animated dialogue concerning Iona's dual Catholic and Christian Brothers traditions. Invited speakers probe different facets of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Lunch buffet provided - a great, informal way to meet other faculty. All faculty members receive invitations to each lunch.
Directed by a Faculty Steering Committee chaired by Dr. Scott Cleary (English).


  Celebration of Welcome

Hegarty Multi-Purpose Room, Hynes Gymnasium, Friday noontime in early October.
All new faculty members and staff members, accompanied by their chairs or supervisors, join for a festive lunch marking their incorporation into the Iona family.


Multiple campus locations; weekend in late October
Current students and returning alumni gather to revel in the Gael Spirit. Events include athletic contests, community service opportunities, films, concerts, and Sunday Mass.
Sponsored by the Offices of Student Development, Alumni Relations, and Athletics.

  Make a Difference Week

Multiple locations on and off campus. Dates announced each fall.
Faculty and staff are invited to accompany students on service projects during this intensive week of volunteering. Publicity and invitations from Office of Mission and Ministry arrive in October.
Sponsored by the Office of Office of Mission and Ministry and directed by a student-centered committee.


  Week of the Peacemaker

Multiple campus locations, mid-November.
For over thirty years Iona College has chosen the time period following Veterans Day to dedicate academic and co-curricular attention to peacemaking. This annual observance honors the selfless dedication of veterans for the cause of peace, freedom, and justice. Each year the college chooses a theme for its Week of the Peacemaker and through lectures and activities coveys this theme in diverse and dynamic ways. Past themes have included: Global Hunger, Human Rights, the Environment, and Human Trafficking.
Sponsored by the Peace & Justice Studies Program and Office of Mission and Ministry.

  Thanksgiving Baskets and Blessing Ceremony

Mulcahy Gym, the Monday before Thanksgiving
The Iona community contributes over 90 laundry-baskets brimming with Thanksgiving food for local families. Each basket comes complete with a turkey and all the fixings. Staff offices and academic departments join the student clubs, athletic teams, sororities and fraternities to produce a huge bounty. The decorated baskets are brought to the gym Monday evening, prizes are awarded, and in a short ceremony, the food is blessed and sent on its way.


  Home for the Holidays

Multiple campus locations, weekday afternoon in early December (date announced).
What wondrous night is this? Pipers piping, singers singing, Christmas lights lighting, and Santa Claus cruising on his custom-built golf-cart - but all the festivities are not quite loud enough to disturb the Prince of Peace, who slumbers in the manger.
Sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of Student Development.

  President's Christmas Party

Spellman Hall, Weekday afternoon after exams have ended
All the staff and faculty in one room? Only at Iona, where a generous buffet and high spirits make for merry colleagues.
Sponsored by the Office of the President.


  Heritage Week

Multiple campus locations (dates announced each spring).
To celebrate Iona's history, our courageous and wise Founding Brothers, the vision of Blessed Edmund Rice, and the creative drive of St. Columba, the College organizes an annual week of activities. At the Opening Mass, Christian Brothers of the Iona community renew their vows. Lectures, panel discussions, films and fellowship follow.
Sponsored by the Heritage Committee

  Loftus Dinner

Off-campus shore club or country club; usually Wednesday evening of Heritage Week.
This annual dinner for approximately 200 guests honors Iona faculty and staff who have served the College 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. The department colleagues of each honoree are invited to the dinner, and one outstanding Christian Brother receives the Loftus Award. Speeches are minimal and collegial good spirits are high. The Loftus Dinner and Loftus Award are named for Br. Arthur Austin Loftus (1904-1979), one of the Founding Brothers and Iona's second president. Br. Loftus was a well-loved professor of philosophy and religion, and later the first non-Irish-born Brother elected Superior General of the Congregation. While president, Br. Loftus also coached Basketball and Baseball.
Sponsored by the Offices of Mission and Ministry and Human Resources.


  Spring Honors Convocation

Mulcahy Gymnasium, First Sunday afternoon in May
After a full academic procession led by the Iona Pipe Band, the Valedictorian and the Faculty Speaker of the Year address the graduating seniors. This Convocation also honors the academic excellence of seniors who belong to 22 honor societies. The national honor society of colleges in the Catholic tradition, Delta Epsilon Sigma, recognizes new inductees, the Honors Program applauds its seniors, and academic departments present awards in their disciplines. One senior receives the College's oldest honor, the Sullivan Award for Demonstration of the Concepts of Loyalty and Scholarship.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

  G.A.E.L. Awards Ceremony

Off-campus shore club. First Monday evening in May.
The Gala for Achievement and Excellence in Leadership (GAEL) Awards Ceremony is an annual event that recognizes students' outstanding contributions to Iona College through leadership and service. Groups and individuals receive recognition.
Sponsored by the Offices of Student Development, Residential Life, and Office of Mission and Ministry

  Baccalaureate Mass

Hynes Gymnasium, Friday evening of Commencement Weekend
In the company of faculty and administrators, graduating seniors and their families gather to give thanks and offer prayers for the future. The Jubilarian Class – alumni celebrating their 50th Reunion – have a prominent place at this Mass and repair to the Jubilarian Banquet immediately afterward.

  Sunday of Commencement Weekend
At the height of World War II, Iona College held its first Commencement, conferring degrees on a graduating class of three. Iona's president at the time, Br. William Barnabas Cornelia, ensured that the Founding Class of '44, despite its tiny size, was honored with a full-fledged Commencement, complete with academic procession and speeches. Since then, the College community has continued to celebrate the accomplishments of its graduating students. The simple ceremony includes an academic procession led by the Iona Pipe Band, the awarding of honorary degrees, and a Commencement Address by one of the honorees. Past honorary-degree recipients include Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama.