A member of the graduating class plants ivy next to a wall or building as part of the Ivy Exercises held the day before Commencement. Although a precise date when the tradition began is not known, the college archives mention ivy planting as well as an ivy song and oration as early as 1862. The ivy appears to symbolize eternal friendship as in the following "ivy song," circa 1885:
". . . Eternal friendship's symbol thou,
Frail tiny plant we leave thee now;
But, token of enduring love
When thou hast reached thy niche above,
With clustering tendril spreading wide.
Entwine our heart on ev'ry side,
Whenever scattered through the land
Unite our disunited band,
That through thee, Ivy, we may be
One class to all Eternity."