Here and There at Tufts
It is a bright June morning, the sun is high above the horizon, the breezes on the hill are pure and fragrant, the trees are beautiful in their summer foliage, the campus is as soft and green as an English garden, the walks are trimmed and in perfect order, the old halls are silent and stately. There is no rush of students, no professors hurrying for classes, no chapel bell. Ballou is decorated as if to greet a nation's guest, and the Brown and Blue is flying in the air. Here and there are a few Seniors in cap and gown - it is Class Day at Tufts. At nine o'clock the Seniors form south of Ballou Hall and slowly proceed to the chapel- "last chapel" for them. There is no hurry to anticipate the closing door, no crowd of underclassmen; for today the Seniors are alone with the President. And for the last time in their lives, they meet as a class, to join in the simple liturgy of morning prayer. It is the service so common to them; the same service in which they have united morning after morning during their four years of life on the Hill, but today it is more impressive than ever before.
After chapel the festivities of the day begin. Guests begin to arrive, and soon the Hill is a scene of gaiety and life. By eleven o'clock the chapel is crowded with friends of the graduating class who are eagerly waiting for the entrance of Seniors. The music grows softer, the audience rises, as the class appears at the entrance of the chapel. Down the main aisle they proceed and here divide as the Orator, Poet and two presidents pass through to the platform. There is a brief address of welcome by the Senior president, prayer by the President of the College, and then the hour is occupied by the Orator and Poet as they pour forth their eloquence on the heads of the assembled multitude. The program is brought to
|a close by the singing of the Class Ode by the Seniors. As the class disperses one can but feel that it has been a solemn service. It is the parting of friends. It is the severing of friendships too strong to be easily broken. Only as the ceremony draws to a close does its full sadness dawn upon us.
But this is a day of pleasure and gladness, so let us make merry. Dinner is quickly over and the crowd gathers for the exercises of the afternoon. This is the great event. Under the historic old tree between the chapel and Ballou is erected the rostrum. Here where for years Tufts men have gathered on Class Day; here near the site where "Old Fortunatus " was played; here on the campus of Tufts are held the Tree Exercises. Long before the hour there is a crowd waiting. Hundreds of happy visitors throng the campus which becomes a vast garden of human faces, while the scene is made beautiful by the many-colored dresses of the fair sex. Still they come. Every path leads to the " Tree." Back in the quadrangle another scene is taking place. Classes are forming; class marshals are calling, " Freshmen this way." A group of " Sophs " are waving their canes and shouting. All are rushing to get in line for the long procession of classes, in which the Seniors have the place of honor. Finally all is ready and the march begins. It seems like an endless line which finally gathers around the tree. First the " Brown and Blue " is sung, then the Orator steps into the rostrum and delivers the traditional Tree Oration, concluding with a parting word of counsel to his class. Another Tufts song and the Historian has the floor. If one ever doubted the virtue and excellence of a college class let him listen to a Senior historian and at once his doubts would be dispelled for ever.
Next comes the Marshal with his gifts to underclasses, who humbly bow before the grand old Senior to receive instruction. The Junior gets a toy pistol or soldier cap to remind
|him of his bravery (?). Of course the Sophomores get the old shoes with assurance that they will lead to the paths of wisdom so familiar to the Senior. The Freshmen receive some child's story book or other help to future knowledge.
Not the least important feature of the Tree Exercises is the cheering by classes. Surrounding the rostrum on three sides the students sit in a sort of amphitheatre, rising in tiers. First come the Juniors, then the Sophomores and Freshmen. Six cheers are usually given-these being for Barnum, the Trustees, the President, Faculty, Athletics, and last of all the regular college cheer. Each class in order of seniority gives a cheer on each of these subjects and great is the rivalry among the three classes to see which shall carry off the honors in this department. Two cheers of last Class Day were especially good:
Here's your term bill
Dig deep and squeeze,
What! No money !
Beat it !
P. T. Barnum:
Harvard has its orange man, the bull dog stands for Yale,
Princeton has its tiger with its black and orange tail,
But Tufts has Barnum's Jumbo -a mighty beast is he,
Possessing more backbone than all the other three.
Although Class Day is a fairly recent innovation - it was not put on a firm basis until the early '90's - it has endeared itself to the hearts of all true sons of Tufts, and bids fair to be an institution which shall last as long as the college. It is so different from most college
|gala days that it is a relief, and the beautiful scenery of the Hill makes it a day long to be remembered.
Class Day is the Seniors own day. They have full charge of all arrangements-- and it must be said that the task is no slight one. The thousands of people are always orderly and well-behaved and no trouble has ever been experienced in handling the great crowds of people. A recent custom is the Class Day of the Medical School which is held on the Hill on the afternoon and evening of Commencement Day. The exercises of the class are held in the chapel at 4.00 o'clock, after which the class and their friends adjourn to the Gym where a banquet is served. In the evening a band concert is given on the campus, and a dance in Goddard Gymnasium.
After singing the " Campus Song " the traditional cheering of buildings is repeated. Stately Seniors and gay Sophomores join arms, and headed by the band, march down the quadrangle, where every building is given its shower of yells. " Short yell for the gym," calls the Marshal; " Locomotive cheer for the Chapel; " " Long cheer for Ballou; " " Spell it out - with Barnum on the end;" and so on, every building is honored.
Here where they have yelled at rushes, here where they have cheered after victories, here again they give a long farewell cheer for Tufts, Tufts, Tufts !
The next few hours are spent in enjoying private and " Frat " spreads and then the promenade. Every building is open. Students are busy pointing out places of interest and telling stories of college life.
As evening draws near Japanese lanterns begin to appear, and soon the Hill is a fairyland of sparkling colored lights. The crowd increases until there are thousands on the Campus and around the " Rez," while the Glee Club sings the songs that have made Tufts
|famous, and are dear to every Tufts man. Now and then the band will strike up Pax et Lux, or Hurrah for Tufts, and the crowd joins in the refrain.
Over in the "Gym" another crowd is dancing until it is too tired to move.
As the visitors dwindle away and Tufts men are left alone on the Hill, little groups are gathered "here and there," in a student's room to talk over the day, and bid good-bye, and perhaps a Senior sits alone long after midnight, and as a sigh escapes, he wonders if other Class Days can ever be as happy as his.
In truth, Class Day is one of the most important if not the most important day of all the college year. It is not only a happy day for the undergraduate, but for the alumni as well. Watch carefully, all of you, at any Class Day, and you will see countless meetings, hearty handshakes, as old classmates and friends meet again. And then they repair to some quiet corner of the shaded lawns to renew old ties and call up memories of those happy college days when they were boys.
And the underclassmen, how interesting it is to watch some of them. Here a Freshman is vainly trying to make his room correspond to some ideal of what a college room should be. He frantically arranges pillows, chairs, etc., for isn't She coming out, and isn't this a great day for him ?
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable incidents of Class Day on the Hill are the fraternity spreads, from 5.00 to 7.00. The dinner at noon in the Gym is all right, but these partake more of the nature of family parties. From among the palms and ferns within the houses, the orchestras weave their dreamy spell; on the lawn, countless tables hold the throng of hattering guests. Charmingly gowned women, and waiters moving noiselessly about, make a charming picture - one not soon forgotten.