First -Year Convocation
As An AluMnA,
I’m proud of the traditions,
both past and present, that make st. lawrence what
it is today. Most recently, I’ve been thankful for one
that’s been revived:
I was surprised to learn it began in
when the university was get-
ting ready to propose a 10-year fun-
draising campaign. The first order
of business was an athletics facility.
President Eugene Bewkes knew
he’d need alumni support, so it
was decided that a “festive autumn
Homecoming Convocation”* would
preface the campaign’s start.
It was exactly what st. lawrence
needed. “A spirit of enthusiastic
good will approaching euphoria
permeated the whole affair…; it
turned out to be a grand October
weekend.”* And a successful week-
end, too. Building upon it, the uni-
versity raised the funds to construct
Appleton Arena.
Homecoming was a highlight of the student experience
until 1998, so it’s no surprise that when st. lawrence
reintroduced it in 2011 it quickly became popular, espe-
cially among young alumni.
We brought back Homecoming as a way to provide
alumni an opportunity to return to and engage with
campus, instill a sense of school pride and tradition
among current students and alumni, and strengthen
alumni affinity connections through gatherings on
campus,” says Kim Hissong ’94, executive director of
Annual Giving and laurentian Engagement.
some popular traditions have gone and never returned,
Winter Carnival
which dated back to 1933
but faded away in the 1970s. While current students
Winter Weekend
which often includes
aspects from Carnival, such as snow sculpture contests,
no one is crowned king or queen and there aren’t or-
ganized dances.
Spring Fest
resembles sigma Chi’s
derby day
which featured games on the Quad and
a big dance or concert (or sometimes
both), but there are more differences
than similarities.
And there are some traditions that,
frankly, I’m thankful no longer take
place. A century ago, “freshmen” had to
hold public varsity cheer practice twice
each month and walk single-file and in
a soldierly manner around campus. I’m
not sure I would have enjoyed wearing
a scarlet and brown beanie and a large
white placard around my neck with my
name and hometown written on it during
my first several weeks on campus.
And I was always thankful for my four-
Winter Break
when Winterterm (an addi-
tional academic session that took place in January, and
has since also disappeared), would have put a damper
on that. I’m also confident that my uncoordinated self
would have never handled the once-required physical
education classes well at all.
no matter what st. lawrence traditions have come and
gone, it’s the people who have created and lived those
rituals who bring them to life and will do so for many
years to come. Every college has traditions, but st. law-
rence students and alumni take great pride in theirs. In
many ways, that’s the tradition that’s been our strongest
for nearly 157 years.
Excerpted from The Scarlet and the Brown: A History of
St. Lawrence University 1856-1981.
Fig. 5