There is no shortage of fun college traditions at Whitman.

The flag pole near Memorial Building has often had something odd hoisted up on it, mostly famously tires and bicycles. A new tradition is decorating and riding Styx, the bronze horse outside of Penrose Library.

freshmen_sophomore tug of war

Another former tradition is the freshmen/sophomore tug-of-war into Lakum Duckum, The pond between Maxey Hall and Memorial Building is named Lakum Duckum as a pun of Americanized Latin. The tug-of-war was a rite of passage for the freshmen men; they were required to wear green beanies until they overpowered the sophomores in a tug-of-war over Lakum Duckum, or Homecoming weekend arrived; the end of the festivities included a bonfire fueled by the green hats. This tradition ended after WWII as combat veterans returning to Whitman refused to wear the green beanies. In the mid-1960s, the college lined the pond with concrete to reduce erosion and the games ceased permanently.

Renaissance FaireThere’s also the Annual Renaissance Faire, a 40-plus-year tradition; the Mr. Whitman competition (think Miss America but senior boys), the One-Act competition and the Instant Play Festival. The Choral Contest has been held annually for more than 85 years. Every spring, student groups form choirs competing for the Gena Branscombe and Howard E. Pratt trophies. There was a similar annual event in the ’60s called “Year in Revue,” and the Greek groups would make a farcical show about the major events that happened on campus. This has been replaced in recent years by Greek week, an annual celebration of Greek life at Whitman.

And finally, pinging. If you stand between two pillars on the exterior of Cordiner Hall, cup your hand ever so slightly and slap it against the concrete, the most unusual “pinging” noise is created.


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