This year, as a result of the campus closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the junior Class of 2021 wrote and produced a virtual daisy chain video to celebrate the graduating Class of 2020, ensuring a tradition continued.
Traditionally, a daisy chain is handcrafted and carried by the junior class during the Bush graduation procession. That chain of flowers symbolizes a collective gift, links students to the alumni community, and honors a culminating moment of working toward a shared goal.
Each year, the Bush Commencement Program quotes Life Trustee Mary “Sis” Pease ’41 reflecting on the tradition:
“There has always been a chain of flowers at graduation, though the original was not a daisy chain. Mrs. Livengood, a Bush music teacher when I was a student, had a very formal exterior with quite a sense of mischief underneath.
The Arboretum in spring is just bursting with flowers, and Mrs. Livengood, possibly with some unnamed culprits, would take an annual trip across Madison to “borrow” the desired flowers. This tradition continued for many years, but as time passed, the classes grew, the chain grew, and “borrowing” had more impact ... so in lieu of sweet Syringa, the daisy chain was born.
When the school went coed, the daisy chain was in question. Would the boys want a flowery garland at their graduation? Fortunately, they appreciated the tradition and approved of the atmosphere that the flowers provided on their special day.
Though the classes are larger, graduation now is very much the same as my graduation in 1941. The wonderful warmth and spirit, the family of Bush remains constant.”
You can click here to watch the Class of 2021 digitally carry on the daisy chain tradition on our website.