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Arching 2024: It Was Everything, and More

Students in caps and gowns walk down Mansion Road and under the Havemeyer Arch. Guests stand along either side to celebrate.

May 24, 2024

The clouds parted, as if someone whispered into Mother Nature’s ear on Thursday morning, “No rain today, please…not for the Class of 2024.” You see, four years ago in the Fall of 2020, many of these students arrived on campus alone. There was a global pandemic, and while Ramapo College held a socially distant Arching for new students, it understandably lacked the fanfare from the presence of family and friends cheering along the sidelines of Mansion Road. The Class of 2024 was able to bid farewell to each other with smiles and hugs instead of in face coverings and keeping at least six feet apart.

Under sunny skies, the students comprising the Undergraduate and Graduate Classes of 2024 got their day. They got their Arching, a most storied tradition at Ramapo College.

IYKYK, and if you don’t: Arching ceremonies mark the beginning and the end of your time at Ramapo College. Students walk up Mansion Road and under the historic Havemeyer Arch when they first become Roadrunners. When they graduate, they walk under the Arch and down the same macadam pathway lined with rock walls, along which you occasionally find a groundhog, unofficial mascot affectionately called the Ramahog, foraging for flora.

The Grove slowly but steadily filled with students and guests, taking advantage of fewer crowds to capture photos on one of the 50 most beautiful campuses in the U.S. Festive music played from the balcony to generate excitement and anticipation for the big moment.

As the clock drew closer to 4:30pm, students headed to their respective school lineup spots along the Academic Complex. The energy grew even more as the ceremony was about to begin. There are five academic schools at Ramapo: Anisfield School of Business, Contemporary Arts, Humanities and Global Studies, Social Science and Human Services, and Theoretical and Applied Science. Students process in that order, led by the Graduate Programs, which include doctoral and master’s degree students. Students gathered together for more photo opportunities and to fix each other’s caps and stoles so that everyone looked their very best.

Then, it was time. Tommy Dimovski ’24, electrified the crowd by playing the National Anthem on his guitar. Met with a thunderous applause, the ceremony began. Senior leadership and faculty lined either side of Mansion Road, eager to celebrate students, shake their hands, and even give a bear hug here and there. For the second time in Ramapo College history, the 50th anniversary of a graduating class was celebrated. Alumni from the Class of 1974 processed to cheers and whistles from all. Another second for Ramapo was honoring graduates from the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The College celebrated the first graduating class last year, which was also the first group of students to graduate with a Ramapo College doctoral degree.

Students from each of the five schools followed. School gonfalons were carried by students selected by respective deans. Roadrunners smiled and waved to family and friends as they walked down Mansion Road. Some stopped for selfies to capture this moment; others stopped to hug faculty who made an impact on their time at Ramapo. Guests angled their cameras for photos lit by the “golden hour” glow.

Students and families made their way to Cherry Lane to enjoy food trucks, live music, and additional photo opportunities, including on the hill across from Bradley donning a message of congratulations.

There wasn’t a Ramahog to be seen, but smiles and tears of joy of more than 1,000 students and guests were everywhere.  As the college experience of a few short years ago and the weather of yesterday began markedly different than Thursday, May 23, 2024. Arching Day proved that things have a way of turning out more than okay. Next stop: Commencement, Roadrunners!