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Carthage Traditions

14 of the best Carthage Traditions

Whether you’re joining the Carthage family this fall or getting ready to graduate in the spring, Carthage has many special traditions that make this place home. Whether it’s sports or snacks, music or travel, you’re sure to remember these Carthage traditions long after graduation.

1. Scarves

Students wearing the Carthage scarves '21Carthage’s newest tradition brings the entire campus together by giving every student and faculty member a scarf. Whether wearing them to a sporting event or walking around outside of campus, Carthage community members will be easy to identify.


2. Kissing Rock

2016 graduates sign Kissing Rock“The Kissing Rock is one of the best ways to bring the campus together. We can advocate for our beliefs, celebrate clubs and organizations on campus, and spread positive messages to everyone on campus. I love walking past and seeing the newest layer of paint added on.” — River Finnegan ’22


3. Celebration of Scholars

A student presenting her work at the Celebration of Scholars.Celebration of Scholars welcomes Carthage students, faculty, and staff to showcase their impressive academic and creative work they’ve done. All are invited to join in and watch as many win awards and are recognized for their hard work and achievements.


4. Christmas Festival 

The Seibert Chapel during the 2019 Christmas Festival.“My favorite Carthage moment has been going to the Christmas Festival. Not hearing much about it beforehand, I was expecting it to be similar to the concerts my high school held. I was very much mistaken. The concert was absolutely amazing. Every moment was breathtaking. The choirs and bands put on such an outstanding performance that I will definitely be back next year.” — Jordan Ball ’23, computer science major


5. Late Night Breakfast

Students at a table enjoying the Late Night Breakfast in the Cafeteria.Held every year before finals begin, late night breakfast is a time to gather with friends and get in those last-minute study sessions before the end-of-the-year tests roll around. With everything from a pile of pancakes to eggs and bacon, students love snacking while preparing for the end of the semester.


6. Homecoming

Students walking down Campus Drive during homecoming.Every year homecoming welcomes alumni and current students on campus to participate in fun activities, the celebration of achievements, and an overall feeling of community. Sporting events, guest speakers, and entertainment are staples when homecoming week rolls around.


7. Freshman Orientation

A freshman meeting a Carthage student at Freshmen Orientation.“One of my favorite Carthage moments was meeting my First in the Family mentees. I am a first-generation student and have participated in a program meant to prepare first-generation freshmen for college life by coming to school half a week early. Through this program, I met some of the most passionate and friendly students who I am lucky to call my friends now.” — Alanna Sullivan ’21, neuroscience major


8. Bingo

Students smiling and playing bingo.“Something that I will always remember is the monthly bingo games on campus. Each one is super exciting, and you get this rush every time you are super close to winning a round. It is really rewarding when you win a prize, even if it is only a pair of fuzzy socks.” — Kaitlyn Keel ’21, public relations major


9. J-Term

Students on the 2012 Honduras J-Term trip scuba diving.“In January 2020, I was lucky enough to take part in the Nicaragua J-Term trip. This experience was life-changing for many reasons. Not only did I get to hike to the top of an active volcano, but I got to meet people and experience Nicaraguan culture firsthand while also solving clean water issues on the island of Ometepe. This unique opportunity is something I truly don’t believe I would’ve gotten to experience at another school, and I am so thankful to have had this chance.” — Kathleen Cochran ’21, geospatial science major


10. Athletic Events

The Carthage football team playing against Bethel University in 2017.“There are so many different events to go to but I love attending the football games and sitting in the bleachers with all my friends, we always have a really good time cheering on the players and spending time with each other outside of class.” — Macey Montavon ’21, biology major


11. Club/Org Days

Greek life recruiting new members at the organization fair.The beginning of the fall semester brings students back to campus as well as the annual involvement fair. Carthage offers a myriad of opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities. Ranging from working on Carthage’s own radio station to fencing club, there is a little something for every student to try.


12. Thanksgiving in the Caf

A student getting food during Cafsgiving '19.“One of the best things about the Caf is when they offer Thanksgiving food. Sometimes students might not be able to go home during the holidays so it’s nice to spend it with friends and eat as much food as possible in any way we can.” — Molly Joyce ’22


13. Carthage Kick-Off Days

Live performances during the Carthage kick off days.“I remember the karaoke night in the Oaks. It was my first semester at Carthage and I was surprised to see the stage set up. I expected something more lowkey, but the band was amazing!. I remember one girl going on stage and singing “I Will Survive.” She had so much energy and was dancing around – it was so fun! They also had these two guys who helped us make these splatter paint tote bags.” — Daniela Avilez ’21, English major


14. Stratford Trip

Students posing at the Stratford festival.“The Stratford Trip is always the highlight of my fall! It is a great combination of learning and fun that gives you a wonderful appreciation for theatre. Going to Stratford really sparked my passion for travel.” — Kathryn Milschewski ’21, English major

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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