greatest class had
now you can
close up the University.
Horton Brown M1899, reporting in the June 28, 1929 issue of the
Gazette on the 30th Reunion of his Medical School class.
Needless to say, his advice was unheeded. The University went right
on producing new crops of graduates, and those graduates kept coming
back for reunions, through the Depression that would hit later that
year, the Second World War, the turmoil of the 1960s, and up to
the presentjust as they had back when Dr. Brown himself was a freshly
minted graduate at the turning of the last century.
The Gazette wasnt around to record the festivities in 1899, but
ever since its founding in 1902 the magazine has provided annual
coverage of alumni reunions and commencement ceremonies. This years
versions appear on page 38 and page 14, respectively. Here are some
words and pictures through the decades.
Night of Folly
Day ended with a celebration in the Triangle that surpassed all
previous events in the abandon of its enjoyments. Doctors forgot
their patients, lawyers their cases, and dignified brokers and business
men threw aside restraint and returned both in spirit and action
to college days. They will work better for the memory of it. It
was a night of folly in which fireworks, fun, and foolishness ran
riot; 99 had coarse straw sun hats and beards from the agricultural
district; 02 Law wore barrels on their bodies, signifying the manuscripts
they have issued, and the number of fees they have acquired; 75
in pajamas; 01 with tin dish pans, and one old class of the civil
war time disported around the bonfire in shirt sleeves. The absence
of the usual supper was compensated for by a surplus of refreshments
of a varied and composite description, dispensed with lavish hospitality
by the classes, from their rooms in the dormitories. The good of
former alumni nights was perpetuated; the bad largely left out.Alumni
Night, June 13, 1903
of the Dormitory Parietal Committee and the University Trustees,
alcoholic liquors, of all kinds, are barred from the dormitories
on Alumni night.Alumni
Day Announcement to Classmen, June 12, 1909
Long Black Line Appears
weather man is always in a genial mood on Class Day. He knows that
Class Day is, after all, the high point of Commencement Week. There
is a draped barricade cutting off the upper end of the Triangle.
In front of the arches dividing the Triangle from the Little Quad
a platform has been erected, draped with the Red and Blue and with
flags, banked with flowers, with gladioli that are not quite red
enough and larkspur that are not quite blue enough, but that make
a beautiful bit of color and perfume.
Outside, the Seniors in cap and gown hurry to the meeting place.
The pointed green cupolas of the Tower look down on the fathers,
the mothers, the sweethearts, and the sisters who form the audience.
A long black line appears at the farther end. It winds over the
grass, led by the Senior President and the new President who will
take his place. The boys fill the side benches. A little mother,
with nearsighted glasses, on the front row, points out her boy among
the black-coated figures.
The President salutes the Classthe historic and unusual class that
four years ago entered, as do all Freshmen, with no appreciation
of the solemn responsibilities that would fall upon itin a speech
full of ideals, of loyalty to Pennsylvania, and of fraternal love.
The audience rises and sings with the Class the greeting to all
loyal classmen to pay homage to the Red and Blue. The boys wave
their mortar-boards, Hurrah, Hurrah, Pennsylvania.Class
Day and Commencement, by Beulah B. Amram, June 27, 1919