WPU Celebrates Timeless Rose Tradition this National Rose Month

June 7, 2023
Commencement 2023

The red vibrant petals of roses are in full bloom each June. The classic flower decorates numerous gardens during the annual National Rose Month. 

For William Peace University, National Rose Month holds a deep meaning, connecting the alumni and student community to a timeless campus tradition. Roses have been a part of a University culture for decades, symbolizing unity, growth, and lasting connections. 

Roses mark the beginning and end of the Peace experience. During Academic Convocation, new students receive a rose after they sign the Honor Code. 


Then, when commencement comes, three roses are given to the now seniors.

One rose is joyfully tossed into the fountain, representing the release of the past and the embrace of new beginnings. Another rose is offered to someone special—a gesture of gratitude and love. The third rose is kept as a cherished memento, serving as a lifelong connection to their alma mater and the memories created at WPU.

First spotted in the 1960s in yearbooks, this tradition holds a special place in the hearts of our alumni and serves as a beacon of inspiration for our current students.

“When I graduated in 1986, we wore long white dresses and carried bouquets of red roses,” said Dawn Dillon ’86, Director of Retention & First Year Experience. “The bouquet then consisted of 14 roses, symbolizing the journey ahead. We threw one rose into the fountain, presented one to our mothers, and kept a dozen as a tangible reminder of our time at WPU.”

Now as a staff member, she feels connected to grad students each year when she helps them wrap around the fountain to continue the tradition.

For Penny Rose ’75, she recalls how special and memorable the tradition was to her. “The rose tradition was a very, very special moment of beauty and celebration. Dressed in elegant white gowns, we paraded toward the fountain with our roses. It was breathtaking. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.”


Outside of Convocation and Commencement, the rose symbol is used in WPU’s Red Rose Ball. Held annually during the spring semester, this formal dance provides students with an opportunity to come together and create lasting memories.

From the tossing of roses at graduation to its symbolism at student events, the rose has long held a special place at William Peace University. Its red petals represent the tradition, unity and lifelong connections found on campus.

In honor of National Rose Month, the Office of Advancement is giving away bouquets of a dozen red roses. Simply confirm or update your address here to be entered into a drawing to win a bouquet.