MUW ‘Mag Chain’ Ceremony Saturday

COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women alumna Linkie Marais will address graduates at one of the university’s most treasured traditions, Mag Chain, Saturday, May 9 at 8 a.m. on Callaway lawn. The rain location is Pohl Gym.

Marais, a 2006 graduate of The W’s culinary program, competed against thousands of other contestants and earned a spot as a finalist on “Food Network Star” Season 8 in 2012.

On various occasions, she has returned to Columbus and surrounding areas, where she has made media appearances and conducted baking demos for W students and the public.

Also a grill master, Marais has found her career moving into new directions, following a Big Green Egg® competition.

Originally from South Africa, Marais moved with her family to Tupelo when she was 16. As a high school student, she worked for a wedding company, where she decorated wedding cakes and catered.

She earned a degree in culinary arts from MUW and later worked as a pastry chef and cake artist. Eventually she moved to Boston, Mass., where she worked in a high-profile baking company.

Marais resides in North Attleborough, Mass., with her husband.

Mag Chain has taken place in some form since 1890. During this event, the magnolia chain is carried by seniors singing the “Magnolia Chain Song” from the front of Columbus Hall to Callaway lawn where the ceremony is held.

The procession is led by the senior class president who carries a bouquet of daisies in honor of the graduates who began the ceremony years ago. Daisies are carried because the magnolia chain was originally made of daisies and other flowers.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the seniors form a circle around the magnolia chain, lock arms and sing the “Friendship Circle” song. After the song is completed, the seniors make a mad dash for a magnolia blossom.

Tradition holds that graduates who are able to walk away with a magnolia blossom will find good fortune and romance.

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