Catawba College Traditions

Every college has its own time-honored traditions! When we think of academic traditions, we tend to think of faculty processing in their regalia and of solemn occasions full of pomp and circumstance. As most schools do, Catawba certainly has those kinds of traditions. However, we have others that are unique to us! Here are a few of our favorite campus community traditions!


CatawbaPalooza is our annual carnival that is free to all Catawba students, faculty, and staff. There are rides and of course, free carnival food! Intramural Sports hosts tournaments (i.e. corn hole and sand volleyball) during this time. Palooza is one of the largest events that Catawba hosts annually and it is a time to remember!

Lessons & Carols

Lessons & Carols is a beautiful service in our chapel to start off the Christmas season for students, faculty, staff and the public. Featuring traditional carols and lessons of the holiday it also highlights the outstanding talent of our students in our choir and music ensembles, along with other members of our community.


CHOP is our very own Catawba House of Pancakes, held at the end of each semester. CHOP is one of a series of weeklong events to give our students a break from studying for exams. Catawba faculty and staff serve students a late-evening traditional pancake breakfast in a fun-filled community atmosphere!


Homecoming has plenty of activities for students as well as a mix of events for our alumni, in a festive Spirit Week celebration leading up to the big football game!

Duck Draw

Duck Draw is an annual event sponsored by Residence Life. Tickets to sponsor plastic ducks are sold to raise funds to provide Thanksgiving turkeys with all of the “fixins” to at least 100 area families each year who would otherwise do without. Ducks drawn from the fountain pool win prizes contributed by area businesses. Since its beginning, over 2,100 Thanksgiving dinners have been provided so far to local families.

Big Baer Halloween Carnival

First, you need to know that it’s spelled that way on purpose! Students, faculty and staff provide a special trick-or-treat and fun-filled occasion for youngsters of faculty and staff and our campus community to enjoy. The event is a celebration and fundraiser for The Cure Starts Now Foundation via the Odin Baer Dougherty Tribute Fund.

Campus Tree Lighting

The Annual Tree Lighting ceremony takes place at the end of the fall semester for Catawba students, and our faculty and staff bring their kids or grands. Enjoy hot apple cider and hot chocolate, cookies, crafts, music, merriment, and even take a picture with our spectacular Christmas tree or Santa!

Winterfest Ball

Winterfest Ball is a semiformal gala open to all students and organized by the members of the Helen Foil Beard Women’s Society with the support of the SGA. It’s a bright, warm and sparkly evening looked forward to by students during the chilly winter season.

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party

Students, faculty and staff gather annually each fall to enjoy filling several hundred shoeboxes with toys, toiletries, school supplies and fun items that will delight children around the globe who receive one.

Spa Night

Spa Night occurs in spring and is a unique opportunity for students to de-stress before the final push of the semester. Hosted by Wellness Promotions in conjunction with student clubs, Spa Night includes massage chairs, professional haircuts and eyebrow waxing, face masks, healthy snacks, caricatures, and much more. All of this relaxation and pampering is free to our Catawba students.