Traditions & Ceremonies

A street sign for Academy road in Culver, Indiana.

Chapel Gold Seal

The Gold Seal is located in the narthex of the chapel and is dedicated to Culver graduates who died serving their country in time of war. Since 1951, students have honored this symbol by not stepping on it, though no regulation forbids it.

Honor System

Conceived by and for the students of Culver Military Academy and later revised by the students of both Culver Military Academy and Culver Girls Academy, this honor system is designed to help each Culver student understand what honor means and to help each Culver student learn to lead a life of honor. The CMA and CGA honor councils administer the honor system.


The present day military ceremony known as a parade has its basis in military history and tradition. It serves as an efficient and impressive method for a commander to inspect his unit, present awards, or honor a visitor.


A retreat ceremony is the final formation of the day to pass information and to formally recognize the lowering of the colors. However, it could be used as an evening parade, if the command has a formal occasion or visitor it wanted to recognize. 


The matriculation of new students involves passing through the Logansport Gate entrance to the school and over the Leadership Plaza. This is symbolic of the eventual passage through the Graduation Arch (girls) and Iron Gate (cadets). As each student passes through Logansport Gate, he or she is welcomed by the Head of Schools and his wife, the Commandant of Cadets, the Dean of Girls, and the top student leaders, the Regimental Commander and the Senior Pprefect.

Dean England Day

The Dean England Day ceremony is held in September or October of each school year in commemoration of the founding Dean of CGA, Mary Frances England. The CGA Council coordinates the ceremony. New girls are welcomed into CGA through this ceremony and presented the Mary Frances England pin, worn by all girls on their dress blazer.

Branch Insignia Boards

Boards are the fourth phase of the new cadet system and, upon completion, represent a significant achievement, as new cadets are then welcomed as full members of their units and the corps. The process includes a week long series of inspections of the new cadet's daily uniform and appearance, as well as room conditions. If the inspection is passed, the cadet proceeds to formal oral boards before his unit leaders, where he is asked questions about Culver history and traditions. Upon successful completion, the process is complete and the cadet is branch qualified. Invitations to boards are normally extended to new cadets beginning in January.

Veterans Day & Memorial Day Remembrances

Two of Culver’s time-honored traditions are tied to its roots in the military. The Veterans Day ceremony and Gold Star ceremony on Memorial Day both recognize the sacrifices made by alumni during times of war.

Culver honors the contributions of American and Allied soldiers during World War 1 and subsequent conflicts at 11 a.m. on November 11. The ceremony has not changed since the original ceremony that was held at the Legion Memorial Building dedication in 1924.

The Gold Star ceremony on Memorial Day recognizes all the Culver alumni who have made the ultimate sacrifice. During the ceremony, the names of the 429 alumni killed during times of conflict, from World War I to the Global War on Terrorism, are read aloud in the Memorial Chapel.

Crest Ceremony

The Crest Ceremony is held in January or February of each school year and is the culmination of the new girls’ orientation to Culver and signifies their formal induction as full members of Culver Girls Academy. The Crest – four quadrants, each representing a special quality or virtue – is the official emblem of CGA. Receiving the Crest represents each girl’s understanding of her responsibilities with the school and symbolizes her acceptance of CGA ideals. The awarding of the Crest also represents a commitment from Culver to help each young woman develop her leadership potential and to support her as an individual.

Gold Stars

The gold stars on the lake and quad sides of the Legion Memorial Building honor Culver alumni who died during World War I. Before entering the building cadets halt and salute the stars. Girls and adults are asked to stop briefly at the stars before proceeding. They also can choose to cover their heart for a moment.

Junior-Senior Tea

The Junior-Senior Tea is held on the Friday afternoon of graduation weekend at which time the juniors of CGA honor the graduating seniors of CGA, and the Tiffany Powell Award is given. Following the ceremony, participants view the senior video, which is created by the communications prefects.

Officers’ Figure

Officers’ Figure is a formal military ceremony conducted during the Fall Ball and Final Ball. Officers’ Figure, which dates back to the first grand cotillion balls, is staged by cadet officers, their dates, and mothers as a military grand march.

Senior Waltz

The Senior Waltz is the traditional dance at Final Ball for graduating senior girls and their fathers or other significant adult male.

Ringing Ceremony

Eleventh graders are “ringed” by a 12th-grader or a Culver graduate of their choice during the Ringing Ceremony at the conclusion of Final Ball.

Graduation Arch

Initiated at the 1975 Commencement exercises, the Graduation Arch is the portal through which each graduating CGA senior walks signifying passage from Culver to her future. Graduates are greeted by the Legion president, who welcomes them to the alumni association.

Iron Gate

Initiated at the 1911 Commencement exercises, the Iron Gate is the portal through which each graduating CMA cadet walks, signifying passage from Culver to his future. Each cadet salutes the Commandant and is greeted by the Legion president, who welcomes each to the alumni association. The Gate is opened by the Head of Schools just prior to the graduating cadets’ procession, and closed after the last cadet passes through it.