History & Traditions
Established in 1837 by Presbyterians of North Carolina, Davidson is a liberal arts college dedicated to cultivating humane instincts and disciplined, creative minds.
As a college that welcomes students, faculty, and staff from a variety of nationalities, ethnic groups, and traditions, Davidson values every kind of diversity, recognizing the dignity and worth of every person while providing a range of opportunities for worship, civil debate, and teaching that enrich mind and spirit. Davidson challenges students to engage in service to prepare themselves for lives of growth and giving.
At Davidson, the history of the college energizes campus life through traditions that connect current students with the college's rich heritage.
Honor Code Signing Ceremony
Respect for the Honor Code has been a central philosophy at Davidson, providing the foundation for the open environment in which students live and study. The Honor Code signing ceremony remains a distinctive moment in the first-year student experience, connecting new Wildcats to the college's honor-bound past.
As a college that maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Davidson values the dignity and worth of all people. College governance, finances, and policies are independent of the denomination. Because of its Presbyterian heritage, Davidson is committed to academic excellence and unfettered intellectual inquiry, respect for every religious and philosophical tradition and worldview, civic engagement and leadership for the common good and solidarity with people of all ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
Sweethearts at the Old Well
Once a functional water well for the campus, the Old Well now has special meaning to Davidson. College lore states that couples who kiss at the well can expect wedding bells in their futures.
The Cake Race, established in 1930, once helped identify hidden track and field talent in the first year class. Though mandatory in the past, the race has since become a voluntary part of the first-year experience at Davidson with a sweet reward at the end: a homemade cake of students' own choosing.
As students enter exam week the stress level can build to the point that it can only be released in the form of an ear-splitting scream. The Midnight Scream is a Davidson tradition that happens as the strike of midnight marks the start of the first day of exams.
Flickerball was first created at Davidson College in 1951, when it evolved as an alternative to touch football. First year residence halls still compete in intramural Flickerball tournaments annually with the hopes of proving themselves as champions.
Eumenean & Philanthropic Societies
Eumenean and Philanthropic Halls, constructed in 1849 and 1850 respectively, are named for the first two student societies founded at the college, both of which still exist and meet today. Notable student Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was a member of the Eumenean Society.