Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Mike Hammond

Third Advisor

Tim Herrmann


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of a college tradition on a university’s culture. Through a hermeneutical phenomenological design, this study explored two college traditions at two separate campuses: Taylor University’s Airband and Westmont College’s Spring Sing. The research was guided by the following questions:

  1. What are students’ perceptions of the impact a college tradition has on a university culture?
  2. Is there mutual shaping—does a tradition shape institutional culture as much as institutional culture shapes a tradition?

Three findings emerged from this study. The first finding demonstrated the importance of traditions in building community, as it was the largest impact of both traditions. Second, both traditions had similar characteristics, but each revealed the respective institution’s cultural values. Third, the traditions shared similar environmental characteristics that led to their level of importance amid the community. Recommendations for practice include strategically thinking about how traditions are developing university communities and cultures; recognizing college traditions as a method for conveying, changing, and influencing an institution’s culture; and campus traditions necessarily reflecting their respective environments.