The first Simmons College Convocation occurred in the fall of 1912 and was referred to as "Founders Day Convocation" in honor of the birthday of Simmons founder, John Simmons. The main purpose of Convocation was to educate incoming first year students on the history of the college while also reminding freshmen of the importance of making academic work their priority while at school. Convocation featured lectures, the conferring of degrees and the handing out of academic excellence awards and certificates.
The earliest convocations were held at Harvard Church in Brookline, and involved a trip to the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, where a wreath was laid on John Simmons grave. Traditionally, faculty arrived in the regalia of their alma mater, while seniors, who arrived on procession, donned their caps and gowns.
The President of the College, and another member of the faculty or administration, divided the ceremony between speeches on the history of John Simmons and the conferring of degrees and giving out awards. New members of the Academy, Simmons College honors society, were given ribbons as an official induction into the student group.
Founder's Day Convocation was celebrated up until 1936. The College Corporation voted to cancel the tradition in 1937, citing the undergraduates' lack of attendance during the previous years' events as their reason.
In 1958, the decision was made to revive Convocation and restructure the tradition by refocusing the goal of the ceremony on academic achievement. In 1959 the title of the ceremony was officially changed to "Honors Convocation" and emphasized academic achievement and featured guest lecturers. The induction of new members of the Academy and Dean's list were featured at ceremony. In recent years, Honors convocation has been held outdoors on the residence campus as well as in the Holmes Sports Center.
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