Students walking up the Old West steps and shaking hands with administrators, including Dickinson President Nancy Roseman.

Neil Weissman (foreground, left), provost and dean, and President Nancy Roseman (foreground, right) welcome the first two members of the class of 2017 to ascend the steps of Old West. They will descend those steps in three years when they graduate.

Each year, new Dickinsonians gather in front of Old West's venerable stone steps. Literally etched with history and scuffed by centuries of students, those steps are part of Dickinson's most important traditions.

During Convocation, new students walk up the steps, through the doors into Memorial Hall and sign into the college. The doors of Old West symbolize Dickinson's connection to its past and a gateway to the future.

At Commencement, the graduating class walks out the doors and down the steps, symbolically exiting the college and entering the world of alumni.

See coverage of recent Convocation ceremonies: