Lawrence history through the archives

Pete Gilbert

It’s the beginning of fall term. The Lawrentian reports a “New Record Expected in Enrollment” with a larger-than-predicted freshman class. A new program has started that brings together members of a local corporation with students and faculty “in the way of bringing industry and the academic world into closer touch.” A “Drive to Raise Money for Lawrence Progresses in Appleton.” And a column reports that the “Library Gets New Books.”
It is, of course, fall of 1930 and, those headlines notwithstanding, the biggest news on campus is that “All College Day” is to be a surprise. This big event was a project of the All College Club, a club whose members consisted of the entire student body.
First organized in 1904, the club originally governed and regulated “the activities of the school, that is, all college students.” Later, its purpose became simply “the promotion and support of the major student extra-curricular activities.” The officers of the 15-member student senate also served as officers of the club.
All College Day was an annual “day of reveling.” Traditionally, the date of All College Day was known well in advance; this year the “Senate plans to keep date of day secret.” William Morton, president of the All College Club, announced that at 8 a.m. on “some day” in late September – one with a promising weather forecast – the Main Hall bell would be rung. Classes would be immediately canceled and the day’s events would begin.
Freshman men were responsible for a “hobo” parade – your guess is as good as mine – at 10 a.m., which would lead the student body from the Chapel to Whiting Field where the games would begin. First on the list was “interclass mixed doubles tennis matches.”
Each class would enter a team with the juniors and seniors playing the winners of the freshman-sophomore matches. An exhibition match was also held, featuring two professors playing two students.
While the tennis was going on, the annual senior-faculty baseball game was played. Following the game, lunch was served, “each class receiving lunch from its own stand.” Faculty ate with students but it’s not clear where they got their food.
After lunch, the freshman women played the sophomore women in baseball, followed by the annual tug o’ war and the “bag rush” in which 16 men from each class vied for possession of four sand bags placed in the center of the football field.
The big event of the evening was the all-college dance, held in the brand-new Alexander Gym. Bus service was offered “for 10 cents per person for a round-trip.” In honor of this big occasion, “girls have been granted 12 o’clock hours” and busses were scheduled to leave the dance in time “to have all girls in the dormitories by 12 o’clock.”
The surprise All College Day ended up taking place Thursday, Sept. 25, 1930. The freshman class won almost all the events and the seniors clobbered the faculty in baseball. The next day’s Lawrentian called it “the most successful all-college day ever known here.