Every year, following commencement, new Smith graduates march up to the courtyard of King and Scales houses and form concentric circles, passing diplomas around in an annual ritual called the Diploma Circle. It's not only a tradition; it's a necessity. While Smith graduates process with their houses, the diplomas they receive have been sorted alphabetically for the entire class. So most students will not be handed their own diploma.
Since 1911, the Diploma Circle, typically a 15-minute process, is where each graduate receives her own diploma.
The origins of Rally Day can be traced to a series of annual celebrations of George Washington's birthday, the first of which was held at Smith College in February 1876. Over time, these celebrations evolved from essentially social dinners or receptions into daylong college events. The addition of a "rally" to the day in 1894 was eventually reflected in the name Rally Day, first used in 1906. The celebration is now held annually on the third Wednesday in February.
The tradition of Friday afternoon tea, where students mark the end of a busy week with snacks and tea, stretches back more than 100 years. Nanci Young, Smith College archivist, has been delivering tea talks about the history of the student houses since 1998, when she first arrived at Smith.