Student Traditions - Captain For Life - Christopher Newport University

Student Traditions

Traditions start early at Christopher Newport…from Setting Sail and President’s Desserts to tossing your penny in the fountain and celebrating your 50th Reunion, we love to see these traditions – new and old – continue to create lasting memories for our Captains.

As graduates and students of Christopher Newport, we are fortunate to be a part of not only one of the most prestigious liberal arts universities in America, but also party to present during its key years of defining and building traditions. Whether a graduate from the Class of 1961 or 2022, you are a part of our greatest tradition of all...for you, are a Captain for Life.

100 Days 'til the Tassel Turns is an event hosted for our graduating seniors to signify that these students are just 100 days away from Commencement! Each year, there is a new theme to help celebrate all of seniors' accomplishments and to prepare them for becoming the newest members of the Christopher Newport Alumni Community.

Save the date: February 3, 2023

Many thanks to the Christopher Newport Student Alumni Society for your instrumental assistance and planning of this special celebration for our graduating class each year!

Countdown 'til the Tassel Turns 2022

The Office of Alumni Relations invites graduating seniors, parents and grandparents to write a letter to be opened at the graduate’s 50th reunion. Letters can be dropped off at the Gregory P. Klich Alumni House during The Commencement Experience.

If you would like to mail us your letter please address the outer envelope to:

Gregory P. Klich Alumni House
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, VA 23606

On the inner envelope, please write the graduate’s name and class year. (Ex. Sydney Hawk '23)

The Christopher Newport Alumni Society created the annual Alumni Society Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring in 2007 to honor faculty who are exceptionally committed to teaching and learning excellence and to university citizenship.

The prestigious award, which carries with it a stipend of $2,500, is presented each year by the president of the Alumni Society at the Latin Honors Convocation held the evening before commencement.

Past Winners

  • Dr. Kelly Cartwright, 2022
  • Dr. Johnny Finn, 2021
  • Dr. Kip Redick, 2020
  • Dr. Willy Donaldson, 2019
  • Dr. Laura Puaca, 2018
  • Dr. Nathan Busch, 2017
  • Dr. Jon White, 2016
  • Dr. Andrew Falk, 2015
  • Dr. Linda Waldron, 2014
  • Dr Graham Schweig, 2013
  • Dr. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch, 2012
  • Dr. Mark U. Reimer, 2011
  • Dr. Edward J. Brash, 2010
  • Dr. Michaela Meyer, 2009
  • Dr. Quentin Kidd, 2008
  • Dr. Lisa Spiller, 2007

One of the most important traditions during Commencement Weekend is the Candlelight Ceremony. Dressed in white below at the bottom of the steps of Christopher Newport Hall the entire senior class gathers while surrounded by their families, friends, faculty, staff and alumni gather to be inducted as the newest members of the Christopher Newport Alumni Society. The event features student speakers and performances, the 50th Reunion Class, and the pinning ceremony which includes the recitation of the Alumni Oath, the pinning of graduates with the official alumni pin, signing of the alma mater and the lighting of candles. The event is capped off with fireworks and great fanfare.

Alumni Oath

As a graduate of Christopher Newport,
I will represent the mission and the spirit of my alma mater.
I will take advantage of every opportunity
to speak on her behalf, to return to campus often,
to recruit excellent students, and to give back my time,
my talent and my treasure. I will use what I have learned
to do work that shapes, defines, and enriches the world around me.
I will represent my alma mater with passion and loyalty,
I will serve my community, seek equality, and embrace all people.
and I will live a life of significance.
I am a graduate of Christopher Newport
and I am a Captain for Life.

Each year, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Christopher Newport Alumni Society invites current sophomores to the Great Lawn to celebrate a special milestone - halfway through their time as an undergraduate at Christopher Newport!

Students join fellow classmates, alumni, faculty, staff and, in some cases, family members for a ceremony to commemorate their achievements to date. Much like the tradition of the Alumni Pinning Ceremony on the evening prior to Commencement, students are encouraged to bring someone of significance to pin them. Sophomores are pinned with a pin signifying the "heart" of the Alumni pin in anticipation for earning and adorning their completed pin with honor in two short years.

The Halfway There Pinning Ceremony takes place annually, in April, on the Great Lawn.

Class of '24 Halfway There Pinning Ceremony

In 2016, a new tradition was born - the Class Ring Ceremony. Each year, in the middle of Family Weekend, students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and friends gather to watch our juniors and seniors walk across the stage to receive their official Christopher Newport Class Ring.

Each uniquely selected ring serves as a lasting symbol of your time spent on campus. All rings include "Captain for Life" beautifully engraved on the inner band and crest exclusively designed to unify decades of Christopher Newport graduates.

Ring Ceremony 22-23

Contact Us

Office of Alumni Relations
(757) 594-7712

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