Join a culture based on interesting and meaningful traditions.
Traditions are a part of life at Wells. They connect us with each other and the generations that preceded us, providing a sense of timelessness and continuity and a reason to celebrate. The experiences and memories that make up these traditions make us all a part of a special community — and they're really fun!
odd even basketball game with fans
students and staff in The Grind café
student in wells stagecoach giving thumbs up
students holding candles at spring convocation
May Day

While there are many new and old, official and unofficial traditions carried on by students, faculty, and staff every year, some of the most long-standing college-sponsored traditions include:

Bells (and Bell Ringers)

A student team is responsible for ringing the bells in Main Building’s tower to announce dinner every night, on the arrival of the first snowflakes, and for other special events. Former students can also request them rung in honor of a wedding, birth of a child, or other momentous life occasion. The Bell Ringer songbook is passed on between generations.


The first Odd/Even basketball game was played in 1898, and the friendly rivalry between classes continues today. The Evenline, whose colors are blue and green, includes students who graduate in even-numbered years, and the Oddline, whose colors are purple and yellow, students in odd-numbered years. In the fall, the women’s team holds basketball tryouts and chooses song leaders, who prepare for a sing-off the day before the game as well as creating posters and banners. For generations, the tradition has brought campus together for an exciting weekend focused on building bonds of friendship and sisterhood.

The Men’s Even/Odd weekend was introduced in 2008. Held in the spring semester, the events begin with a dance-off in the Dining Hall. The following night, members of the first year and sophomore class hold a dodgeball game, coached by junior and senior participants.

Wells Rings

Each semester, members of the upper classes may order the traditional onyx and gold Wells College ring. The ring symbolizes the memories that Wells provides. Modeled after Henry Wells’ own signet ring, it was originally gold with black onyx. However, students have the option of having their ring made in silver.

May Day

The College held its first official May Day celebration in 1923. Held on or around May 1st, the event includes crowning the Senior Royalties and Junior Queen. During the celebration, poetry is read, songs are sung, and the First-Year student dancers, dressed in white, perform a dance while wrapping the May pole.  Students who dance their first year are then eligible to be crowned May Queen their junior year or be on the court their senior year. 

Tea Time

Tea and coffee are served every Wednesday afternoon.  Though the long dresses and china cups of early tea time celebrations have disappeared, this break from afternoon seminars is still a great time to get together with friends and professors and enjoy treats and hot beverages. The event is usually held in the student-run café The Grind.


To celebrate the holiday spirit each winter, the Traditions Committee organizes a community holiday show. Village residents and their children, students, faculty and staff are all welcome. The main attractions of the night are holiday skits put on by students, resident advisors and administrators. Seniors try to remember and re-create their First-Year skit, and the new students work the crowd by performing theirs.


When a Wells student deserves special recognition for an award, birthday, or other accomplishment, friends (and often anyone nearby!) sing the “Wells Congratulation Song” which goes as follows:

Oh (name of student) we sing to you
You are so good and true
We’ll all be loyal to you
We’ll raise your name
And praise you, too
And so we sing to dear old Wells and you

Members of the Wells community are always excited to talk about our traditions. If you want to know more, ask an admissions representative or pay us a visit!

Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

170 Main Street, Aurora, NY 13026
Admissions: 800.952.9355 |
General Information: 315.364.3266
© 2022 Wells College
The following email addresses are a honeypot intended to test automated bots' ability to parse encoded addresses. Please do not contact these addresses.