Be Part of this Dominican Tradition!

The following is information for the CLASS OF 2021 Ceremony.

If you are looking for information for the Class of 2020 Candle and Rose, click here.

When is the Candle and Rose Ceremony?

The ceremony will be part of Commencement Weekend, May 6–8, 2021.

Candle and Rose for the Class of 2021 takes place on Saturday, May 8.
The Ceremony begins at dusk, around 8:00 p.m.

New this year – ONLY Candles and Roses are allowed on campus. Family and friends are invited to view the event live stream online from home.

Who can participate?

Candle and Rose is a ceremony for undergraduate students who are graduating in May 2021 and August 2021, or graduated in January 2021. Students who graduated in 2020 and did not have the opportunity to attend due to the pandemic are invited to join the Class of 2020 Candle and Rose.

How do I participate?

To participate in the Candle and Rose ceremony, you must register both yourself and your Rose before April 15. Capacity restrictions are in place. No registrations will be allowed after April 15.

Who do I choose as my Rose?

Seniors (symbolized by the Candle) chose someone to be their Rose. The Rose is someone that represents the meaning of Caritas—Love and Compassion—to you. Traditionally, Roses were undergraduate students that the seniors would pass the Light of Truth (Candle) to during the ceremony. Your Rose does not have to be a current undergraduate student but should be at least 13 years of age.

Do I need tickets for the Candle and Rose Ceremony?

The on-site Ceremony is open to pre-registered Candles and Roses only. No guests will be allowed on site due to capacity restrictions. Your friends and family are invited to watch the online live stream.

What do you wear to Candle and Rose?

Seniors must wear their cap and gown for the Candle and Rose ceremony. You do not wear any honor cords or a hood.

Since the ceremony is in the Quad, participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and walking in the Quad. The Quad is uneven and it is recommended to be mindful of your shoe choice as heels tend to sink into the grass as participants (Seniors and Roses) will stand for the duration of the ceremony.  The Candle and Rose ceremony is a formal ceremony and roses are encouraged to dress appropriately. Jeans are not appropriate. Jackets may be worn. Seniors (candles) should wear a sweater or jacket under their robe.

I am an August/January graduate. How do I order a cap and gown?

All seniors participating in Candle and Rose are required to wear a black cap and gown. It is your responsibility to purchase or borrow a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony. 

Regalia (caps and gowns) can be ordered onlineIMPORTANT NOTE: Orders placed after April 1 may not arrive on time.  A limited number of extra caps and gowns will be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis in the Stephan Bookstore. You can visit the bookstore to reserve a set.

Where do Seniors and Roses line-up for Candle and Rose?

Registered Seniors (Candles) and their Roses will be sent additional information before the event. Please plan to be on campus and fully ready by 7:15 p.m. 

Please leave all personal items at home or in your vehicle.

Will there be a rehearsal?

There will not be a rehearsal for Candle and Rose this year.  Detailed instructions will be sent to registered Seniors in advance via email.

Candle and Rose History

The essence of the Dominican University Candle and Rose is unchanging. In Caritas (charity) and Veritas (truth), Candle and Rose stands testament to the many years of Dominican tradition in River Forest. The first ceremony was held in 1928, encouraged by Sr. Constanza, an English professor at Rosary College. Held on the North Terrace, as Lewis Hall was not yet built, students marched in rows of 15, commemorative of the mysteries of the rosary.

Graduating seniors walk with lit candles; their partners, generally underclassmen, carry roses. Two lines process across the upper and lower Cloister Walks, assembling in the Quadrangle. The symbolism of this event is explained, and the exchange of the candle and rose is made. The seniors are reminded to be faithful to the teachings and standards of the Dominican tradition. They receive a rose as a living symbol of the beauty, love and compassion they have experienced at Dominican. The rose, long held dear in the Dominican shield, holds the promise of Caritas. The seniors bestow upon their partners the truth and knowledge they have gained. Each senior will present the candle to his or her partner as a symbol of the light of learning. The candle symbolizes the light of knowledge, the light of Veritas. Light is passed from the senior graduates to their partners.

Until the mid-1970s, Candle and Rose was limited to seniors and juniors only. In fact, during the early years of Rosary College, the Cloister Walk was the exclusive domain of the sisters and seniors—a junior was afforded her first steps across its sacred stones as she participated in the ceremony. As we’ve evolved as a community, the person most representative of Caritas Veritas in the graduating senior’s life is afforded the special honor of marching on the Cloister Walk. In addition, long white dresses, de rigueur for the juniors during the 1950s and 1960s, are no longer required.

Candle and Rose represents tradition: the Dominican tradition of truth and charity. Through the years, Candle and Rose is the most stunning representation of Dominican values—St. Clara’s College to Rosary College—Rosary College to Dominican University. As the curtain of time closes ever diligently each graduation eve, a diverse, holistic community of faith stands ever strong, moving progressively forward, meeting the challenges of a complex, dynamic world. Dominican University’s Candle and Rose ceremony speaks of the ages, of Dominican tradition, of Rosary pride, of a history that began in 1901 in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.

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