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It's difficult to find a college or university in the U.S. that doesn't have a list of traditions that its alumni and students cherish. Marietta is no different. Our storied history has come to include a tradition of shared lore, songs, and activities. From our traditional homecoming celebration each fall, to the restored tradition of Doo Dah Day in the spring, the College's historical conventions connect alumni with current students. Here are the things that bring Marietta College Pioneers together:

Speaker during Alma Matter

Alma Mater

A mainstay of College events, including Founders Day and Commencement, the Alma Mater traces its melody back to the 19th-century folk song, Sadie Ray, which mourned the loss of a lover ...

Marietta College Seal

College Seal

While various College administrations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries debated the most appropriate founding date of the College using both 1797, (the founding date of Muskingum Academy), and 1835, (the date upon which Marietta College was chartered by the State of Ohio), over the last one hundred years or so, the seal has been a relative constant in its use and design.

Marietta College cheerleader


Homecoming is one of the oldest traditions at the College despite not having started until 1926. According to Vernon E. "Dan" McGrew's In the Various Branches of Useful Knowledge, "Its genesis is unclear, but the spreading use of automobiles undoubtedly contributed to its growth.

Marietta Rock being painted

The Rock

When you mention "The Rock" at Marietta College, it's not a reference to Alcatraz, but instead to a large boulder that occupies a very special place on campus and in the hearts of student organizations and their members.

Blue Sky with Erwin Hall Clock in the background

School Colors

All loyal Pioneers know that the colors of Marietta College are Navy Blue and White, but tracing them back to an exact date of official adoption is an exciting journey into the institution's archives.

Doo Dah Day hot air balloon

Doo Dah Day

Who was Glen Mello and what was his big idea? It seems that in the spring of 1974, Glen hit upon the notion that the College needed a way to celebrate the arrival of spring and he took his brainstorm all the way up the ladder to the Dean of Students and the Student Life Board.

St. Mary's Church

Messiah Concert

Dating back to 1926, Marietta College's oratorio choir has been performing Handel's Messiah for the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Marietta student wearing Pioneer shirt


One of the most common references to the origin of the College's nickname, "Pioneers," comes in the pages of Vernon E. "Dan" McGrew's In the Various Branches of Useful Knowledge. This history of the College points to an appearance of the name "Pioneers" in the fall of 1930 when it was used by the Olio to describe Marietta sports teams.