Further, according to Chittenden, while some of the
stories may sound as if they've been told for genera-
tions of students, they are actually relatively new.
Many are migratory," he notes. "stories, often with
local variations, appear again and again at colleges in
many places. since folklore is dynamic and frequent-
ly changing, a new story will appear from time to
time, even though students may be absolutely con-
vinced that it’s true and has been around forever."
while the origins of campus myths and
legends may be hard to pin down,
determining whether they
have basis in fact has
become easier, with
online research.
You may have
heard, for instance,
that st. Lawrence's
outstanding pro-
gram of study in
Kenya was the first
to be established
there. that's true
in a way. there
were other programs
of study in Kenya
before st. Lawrence's,
which began in 1974,
but ours was the first to
establish a site for its pro-
some campus publications have stated that wCaD/
KsLU radio, pioneered at st. Lawrence by the
late ward C. Priest, was the first radio station on
a college campus in the U.s. No doubt those early
experimenters were among the vanguard in the early
s, but wCaD wasn't actually the first station.
Given that the University is a place where young
people gather not only to learn, but also to have
some fun, it's not surprising that a few of the
myths" that float around probably were thought up
in the great tradition of college humor. ever notice,
in winter, the paths that crisscross the Quad, allow-
ing people walking on campus to get where they're
going a little faster? who puts those paths there?
why are they always in the same places? Does the
University employ a path-packer whose job it is to
go out and tamp down new-fallen snow?
we wish! You might have heard about the myste-
rious and elusive path-packer. (has anyone ever
caught him or her doing this job?) the fact is that
the paths appear spontaneously, simply because
people want to get from the Noble Center to
hepburn in a hurry when it's cold.
and of course, no exploration
of myths would be complete
without a look at those sur-
rounding the actual saint
Lawrence, for whom the
nearby river was named by
explorer Jacques Cartier.
Lawrence was a deacon in
the roman church when
a declaration demanded
the execution of all ro-
man clergy. it is said that
he was martyred by being
roasted on a gridiron.
hence the name of the
University's yearbook.)
tradition also holds that Lawrence
joked about their cooking him enough to
eat, stating something along the lines of, "turn
me over ... i'm done on this side." however, accord-
ing to the
Catholic Encyclopedia
some of the details
about his life may have been embellished in the
re-telling, including the "manner of his execution,"
which "gives rise to grave doubts."
as to the rooster that serves as a weathervane,
perched on top of Gunnison Memorial Chapel?
well, maybe some myths are better left unexplored.
Macreena Doyle often explores myths in her role as St. Law-
rence’s news services coordinator. Are there other myths
that you’re aware of? Let us know:
folklore is
dynamic and
frequently changing,
a new story will appear from time
to time, even though students
may be absolutely convinced
that it’s true and has been
around forever.