Latest Legends & Traditions
In December, a roasted boar’s head will make its way through the Conant Performing Arts Center, carried on the shoulders of newly initiated members of Omicron Delta Kappa, an academic honor society. For almost a century, the Boar’s Head Ceremony has been a staple in Oglethorpe heritage and launches the OU holiday season. Oglethorpe invites everyone to take part in this lasting tradition.
The inspiration for the Boar’s Head Ceremony is taken from none other than the Oglethorpe family coat of arms, which features boar’s head profiles, symbolizing the strength, courage and vigor of the Oglethorpe family. The annual Boar’s Head celebration is modeled after an English collegiate ceremony, said to have begun at Queens College in Oxford during the 14th century.
Legend has it that, while wandering the forest of Shotover on Christmas Eve, a student named Copcot took a break from his travel to read Aristotle. Suddenly, young Copcot was attacked by a wild boar. The story says that Copcot stood his ground, saying in Greek, “Wisdom conquers even the treacherous beast.” He then rammed the book down the throat of the boar, causing it to choke to death. Upon returning to campus, Copcot presented the carcass to the college cook, who roasted it—the book and all—for Christmas dinner. It is said that those who ate the flesh of this boar grew wiser with each bite.
Today, ODK inductees kiss the boar instead of eating it, with hopes of carrying their newly-acquired knowledge with them to the new year.
What Else to Expect
In addition to the ODK initiation, the Boar’s Head Ceremony includes a live holiday concert from the Oglethorpe Singers and University Chorale.
After the concert, attendees will move outside to enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree. And no holiday party is complete without a feast. In 2010, the international-themed holiday party that followed the tree lighting featured food and beverages from different regions around the world.
“It’s such a team effort, it’s hard not to bond with the people in your car,” said Annie Morgan ’12. “Last Halloween was cold and rainy, but no one said anything about wanting to get it over with or wishing they hadn’t come. Plus, at the headquarters where you drop the cans off, there are lots of college students sorting through food and music is playing….it’s sort of a party. The mission that underlies the event only makes it better—you’re having fun and you’re making the world a better place.”
For Alpha Phi Omega’s Trick or Treat in Traer residence hall, tiny costume-clad kids ran through the dorm courtyard in search of goodies. For years, this service fraternity has organized the event, which featured a haunted house and Halloween-themed crafts for their pint-sized guests from the neighborhood.
Just on the other side of campus, Read More→
We here at the OU Blog got to document Battle of the Bloody Marsh, the traditional faculty/staff v. students tug of war battle, in the fall of 2010. The students put up a tough fight, but that year, the faculty was the victor. After only seconds of pulling, the students looked to be carrying over their win from the previous year; only to be overcome by the faculty/staff, who edged out their opponents just as the deciding marker approached the bounds.
“I was very pleased with the turn-out,” said Josh Durbin, former residence life coordinator for student activities. “We even had a board member [Dr. William Shropshire] participate.”
The Battle of Bloody Marsh has been held on the quad for more than 15 years to commemorate a significant day for Oglethorpe’s namesake. Founded deep in Georgia’s earliest history, the real Battle of Bloody Marsh occurred in July 1742. The battle took place during a Spanish invasion of present-day Georgia and St. Simons Island. General James Oglethorpe led the British troops to victory in the battle for control over the road between two British forts on coastal St. Simons Island. The Province of Georgia later claimed the island.
The entire Oglethorpe campus is looked forward to welcoming the Class of 2014 when they move into their dorms and take the first steps of their college lives…beginning with orientation.
Ahh, college orientation…a time when new students prepare for the upcoming school year with a week-long crash course of the institution itself. Like most colleges, orientation week for OU freshmen includes attending panel discussions on academic and student life, welcome parties, and an activities fair with representatives from student organizations vying for their interest.
The Oglethorpe difference begins in the early morning of day three—our Orientation Day of Service. Unlike most freshmen across the country, OU freshmen rose early Monday morning, met for breakfast, and headed to Atlanta’s Historic Grant Park Conservancy to assist the the 127-year-old park in sprucing up and preparing for its annual Summer Shade Festival. There, 300 new Petrels worked alongside upperclassmen and other volunteers to get the city’s oldest park in festival shape.
Oglethorpe’s Day of Service, an annual event, serves not only as a way for new students to get acquainted with one another, but is a testimony to OU’s commitment to community service, something that has become signature to the Oglethorpe experience.
Whenever I mention that I attend Oglethorpe University, people often comment on the exquisite architecture and picturesque campus. I’m always proud to say that I do indeed live, work, and study at a castle. It reminds many people of Hogwarts School from the beloved Harry Potter series, and some students have even affectionately deemed it “Oglewarts.”
We may be a private liberal arts school instead of a wizarding school, but to me, Oglethorpe possesses a magic of its own. The presence of community spirit is more prominent here than in any community I’ve ever considered myself to be a part of. For me, it’s been an interactive and nurturing environment that has helped me to grow in both my knowledge of my studies and my relational experiences with the wonderful people I’ve encountered here.
One day driving around campus, I noticed a car with an OU license plate and of course I immediately coveted it. It was the opportune time for me to get one because I had just gotten a new car and had a temporary tag. I finally got my OU tag in the mail a few weeks ago and it was exciting! My love for this school makes me bleed black and gold, so I’m ecstatic that I now represent OU even when I’m out and about. Now I get to have a piece of my beloved Oglethorpe with me everywhere I go!
I encourage all students and alums to show your Petrel pride on your ride! You can contact the OU Marketing department directly at 404-364-8468 for more information about getting an OU plate or you can order one directly at any Georgia DMV.
Anybody remember Room 101 in Hearst? Didn’t think so. It was a kind of hybrid, not really a classroom, sort of a seminar room, sometimes used for food spreads for things like Parents’ Weekend and OU Passport. It was also the former office of the late OU President Thornwell Jacobs.
It was Thornwell Jacob’s vision that returned the campus to the Atlanta area. Carrie Lee Henderson, Jacobs’ granddaughter, provided the initial inspiration for reconnecting to her father’s tenure as president at Oglethorpe University (1915-1943). But leave it to those folks in the library to grab a nugget of history and spin a vision around it.
Library Director Anne Salter proposed taking the room back to its former glory, to the days in the first half of the 20th Century when Jacobs sat behind a big desk and ran Oglethorpe University with great aplomb.
The goal was to complete the work and outfit the room as an archival museum filled with photos, memorabilia and historic timelines before Alumni Weekend in April. All systems were go: demolish a fake wall that covered the beautiful leaded glass doors from the inside; repair and replace broken crown mould along the ceiling; pull up the carpet squares that had been glued to the original hardwood floors; replace broken panes in the windows; repair the transom over the door and remove glue from the fireplace hearth and add a final touch – a fresh coat of warm, buttery paint.
Much of the electrical was rewired in the process, too; an old air conditioning unit was removed and granite blocks seamlessly filled the gap. The restoration was completed, and the room is a warm treasure trove to explore and enjoy. Please make a point to visit!
On Thursday, May 6, Oglethorpe seniors prepping for graduation got the opportunity to finally see what all the fuss is about and climb the Lupton bell tower and ring the Carillon bells.
Why such a big deal, you ask? The bell tower stairwell is off-limits to just anyone. There are just a few keys tucked away in various places on campus that open the secret doorway to the Lupton bell tower. The only people authorized to climb the bell tower are graduating seniors (a couple days before they depart campus and set out into the real world!) and alumni who celebrate reunion years during Alumni Weekend.
Here’s a brief (and interesting!) history of the bells here at Oglethorpe University… Read More→