One of the
University’s most symbolic traditions is the Rotunda Passage, which
includes both a processional and recessional. Many students begin
their lives at SMU by processing through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall
to Opening Convocation held in McFarlin Auditorium, symbolizing
their entrance to SMU.
At the end of
their time at SMU, students will recess back through the Rotunda at
the conclusion of the Baccalaureate Service held the evening before
May Commencement. It is a symbolic departure from campus and out
into their future as the newest members of the SMU Alumni family.
Passage also recognizes the importance of Dallas Hall to SMU's
campus life. Dallas Hall is the oldest building on campus. In 1915
when classes began, it housed all of the academic and administrative
functions of the University. It is pictured on SMU’s seal and just
as Dallas Hall is central to SMU, the Rotunda is at the very center
of Dallas Hall.
Our Rotunda is the
centerpiece of a magnificent three-story building that stands on the
highest spot, or “hilltop,” of the land given by the citizens of
Dallas to attract SMU to this city. It is fitting that Dallas Hall
is named in honor of the generosity and vision of those citizens. It
is appropriate one becomes part of the SMU community by marching
through it to Opening Convocation.
which takes place at the beginning of SMU's Opening
Convocation ceremony, marks the moment when entering first-year and
first-year transfer students become a part of the SMU community.
During the Rotunda
Processional students march through the back Dallas Hall, SMU's
oldest building. Students are guided to emerge from the front doors
by alumni who are also parents of entering students. From the steps
of Dallas Hall, students are led into McFarlin Auditorium by Peruna,
a living symbol of the University.
At the conclusion
of Convocation, the historic Ovilla Curtain is lowered to signify
the completion of their initiation. Read the story of the
Ovilla Curtain here.
Recessional is a ceremonial tradition in which graduating students
take their final walk on campus. The evening before May
graduation, candidates will leave McFarlin Auditorium in their
academic regalia guided by alumni marshals. At the conclusion of the
Baccalaureate Service, they will march up the stairs and through the
front doors of Dallas Hall to symbolically complete their