Making history: How the class banner gets created

The pattern

In 1984, when Commencement and Reunion were combined into one weekend event, Wheaton began using class banners in the Commencement procession to “announce” each class. Class officers usually ask for volunteers, who determine the design and make the banner. (For the Class of 2017, Charlotte Hall, Emma-Kate Metsker and Richard Davies volunteered.) Designers aim to visually define the college experience of their class. Banners are 4-feet long, 3-feet wide, and have 8-inch adjustable tabs to hang from T-shaped poles. The final results are folded in half, hung from clips and stored in the archives until needed for Reunion and other events. Over the years, classes have made banners in various shapes, using a variety of materials and techniques, from sewing to gluing. And often the final finish comes down to the wire. “Several banners have been designed and created during senior week. I’m not telling you which ones,” noted College Archivist Zephorene Stickney Helmreich.

More online, to see all of the coverage of Commencement—the speeches, the photos, the pride and the joy.