Honor the Past. Aim for the Future.

Culver is steeped in a rich history of tradition, some of which date back over 100 years. Students learn that they are part of the continuum of those traditions – honoring their past, but always looking ahead to the future.

Below are some of the significant events and traditions at Culver.


The matriculation of new students involves passing through the Logansport Gate entrance to the school and over the Leadership Plaza. This is symbolic of the eventual passage through the Graduation Arch (girls) and Iron Gate (cadets). As each student passes through Logansport Gate, he or she is welcomed by the head of schools and his wife, the commandant of cadets, the dean of girls, and the top student leaders, regimental commander and senior prefect.

Branch Insignia Boards

Branch Insignia Boards are the last phase of the New Cadet System and, upon completion, represent a significant achievement, as new cadets are then welcomed as full members of their units and the Corps. The process includes a thorough inspection of the new cadet’s person, uniform, and room. If the inspection is passed, the cadet processes to a separate location for the second phase — a formal meeting with three or four unit officers, overseen by the counselor, testing the new cadet on material from the “Boards Book.” The cadet must answer from memory nine of the 10 questions posed to him. Invitations to Boards are normally extended to new cadets beginning in February.

Chapel Gold Seal

The Gold Seal is located in the Narthex of the Chapel and is dedicated to Culver graduates who died serving their country in time of war. Since 1951, students have honored this symbol by not stepping on it, though no regulation forbids it.

Honor System

Conceived by and for the students of Culver Military Academy and later revised by the students of both Culver Military Academy and Culver Girls Academy, this Honor System is designed to help each Culver student understand what honor means and to help each Culver student learn to lead a life of honor. The CMA and CGA honor councils administer the Honor System.

Iron Gate

Initiated at the 1911 Commencement exercises, the Iron Gate is the portal through which each graduating CMA cadet walks signifying passage from Culver to his future. Each cadet salutes the commandant and then is greeted by the Legion President, who welcomes each to the alumni association. The Gate is opened by the head of schools just prior to the graduating cadets’ procession, and closed after the last cadet passes through it.

Officers' Figure

Officers' Figure is a formal military ceremony held at Fall Festival and Final Ball that dates back to the earliest days of the school. Cadet officers, their dates, and mothers perform a military grand march.

Ringing Ceremony

The Ringing Ceremony is the official time when 11th-graders are "ringed" by a 12th grader or a Culver graduate of their choice. The ceremony occurs at the conclusion of Final Ball.

First-Class Ring

No class gift is more revered and used than that designated as "The Class Ring." Presented by the Class of 1939 to future first-classmen and seniors, the "ring" has become cherished in the traditions of cadets and coeds as their special lakeshore refuge.

Veterans Day & Memorial Day

Two of Culver's time-honored traditions are tied to its roots in the military. The Veterans Day ceremony and Gold Star Ceremony on Memorial Day both recognize the sacrifices made by Culver alumni during times of war. Since 1924, Culver has recognized the sacrifices of American and Allied soldiers during World War I at 11 a.m. on November 11. The ceremony has not changed since that original Armistice Day ceremony was conducted at the Legion Memorial Building dedication over 80 years ago. The Gold Star Ceremony on Memorial Day recognizes all the Culver alumni who have made the ultimate sacrifice. During the ceremony, the names of alumni killed during times of conflict, from World War I to Iraq, are read aloud in the Memorial Chapel. Following the service, a solemn procession moves out to the Oval and the Corps of Cadets honor those fallen Culver veterans with a 21-gun salute and military review.