Check out this archive footage from Ivy Day, filmed on campus fifty years ago and shared by Bowdoin College Special Collections & Archives. The student planting the ivy is Robert Ives ’69, who recently retired as Bowdoin’s director of religious and spiritual Life.
On October 26, 1865, Bowdoin’s Class of 1866 inaugurated “Ivy Day” with a public address and poem in the College Chapel, planting an ivy and singing outside the Chapel, followed by an evening concert in downtown Brunswick. The tradition did not take root however, and it was another seven years before the custom was revived.
Ever since then, Bowdoin students have embraced this year-end celebration, now commonly called “Ivies,” as a rite of spring to bring release from the pressures of academia and the burdens of winter in Maine.