The Oldest Student Organization
Thelmo meetings have always been considered
formal affairs; the nattily-attired executive committee of 1927-28
models the fashions of the times.
What is the oldest continuing student organization on campus? According
to our research, it’s the Thelomathesian Society. Today’s
student government organization was founded in 1863, when St. Lawrence
was seven years old.
But it didn’t begin life having anything
to do with student government. That didn’t happen until 1894.
Originally, the Thelomathesian (from the Greek for “love of
knowledge” and/or “desire
to learn”) Society was a debating club. “Thelmo”--how
and when that nickname accrued cannot be determined--has remained the
student governing body for 112 years.
Presenting the Colors
Thelmo must have had some cachet as more than just a debating club
in its natal incarnation; in 1876 it accepted the recommendation
of three seniors and decreed that henceforth the St. Lawrence colors
would be scarlet and brown.
in University affairs has waxed and waned. One very active era
was the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s, when Thelmo weighed
in on such broad matters as the Vietnam War, drug use, 24-hour “visitation” in
student residences, an admissions film (they didn’t like it),
and a palette of “student
rights.” More constructively, in the same period Thelmo
leaders persuaded the trustees that the Thelmo president should be
an ex officio student
delegate to board meetings and hosted a conference on the development
of modern society that drew students and faculty from 13 colleges to
read and discuss papers.
|A Few Thelmo Presidents of Note:
Ward C. Priest ’08: physics professor and a founder of WCAD/KSLU radio
Foster S. Brown ’30: St. Lawrence president, 1963-69
Joseph J. Romoda ’33: dean of the college, 1949-66; Romoda Drive memorializes
Isadore Demsky/Kirk Douglas ’39: actor, author, philanthropist
Betty Leonard Dwyer ’44: the first woman to serve as president
James Garbarino ’68: noted child psychologist and authority on violence
Joseph T. “JJ” Jockel ’74: professor and chair of Canadian
studies at St. Lawrence; widely-regarded authority on Canadian-American relations
Suzanne K. Aquila ’89: the only person known to have served two terms