By Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70
Activities are the trial run of growing up,
when we try parts and roles for size and comfort.
—T. S. Darrah, The Tomokan, 1958
YOUR MOTHER SMOKES CARROTS
—The Tomokan, 1957
Under the new Wagner administration, the major events of Rollins social life continued to be Homecoming and the fundraiser Fiesta, which had first been sponsored by the faculty wives in 1949. The Greeks continued to host campus-wide social events and the Independents sponsored their popular Talent Shows. The burning issues of the day were the selection process employed for Who’s Who and the permissibility of wearing bermuda shorts and jeans.
In 1953, football had been ended and, with it, Homecoming—and the burning issue was women’s hours. In a Sandspur poll, 65 percent felt women could be trusted out on a Saturday night until 1 a.m. (Thirty-five percent felt midnight was the witching hour.) Fifteen years later, the question was still hours. More than one-half of the freshman women demonstrated for an extension of weeknight hours by staging a “study-in” in the library—from 10:00 to 10:50 p.m.
Chef "El McKeano" at Fiesta Tortilla Flat, 1958
Fiesta went through a number of metamorphoses during its 18-year life. In 1950, the Student Council assumed responsibility for Fiesta and, in 1953, Fiesta proceeds were shared by the Rollins Scholarship Fund and Winter Park Hospital. Fraternity- and sorority-sponsored booths featured everything from elephant rides to the irresistible invitation to “Pie a Pi Phi.” In 1957, Fiesta adopted its first theme: “Fiesta Fantasy.” Nursery rhymes and fairy tales were the order of the day. That year the faculty sponsored its first Tortilla Flat; Menu: Tamales a la Tiedtke, Frijoles a la French, Tortillas a la Presley-real gone, and el Coca Cola. “Assuming a very modest policy in regards to tipping, the management had decreed that tipping was encouraged; in fact, that it was absolutely necessary” (The Sandspur, 1957).
Other Fiesta themes included the Wild West (1959), Roaring Twenties (1960 and 1964), Roman Holiday (1961), South of the Border (1962), Old South (1963), Disneyland (1965), and the Netherlands—Rollins’ country of the year (1966). Fiesta featured such big-name groups as the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra (1954), Johnny Long (1955), Buddy Morrow and his “Night Train” Orchestra (1959), Wally Futch (1960), Bo Didley (1963), and the Drifters (1964). The President’s Ball was added to Fiesta activities in 1965. In 1967, Fiesta was replaced with Spring Weekend.
Prospective students might like to know how Rollins students look to me. I think many of them are disillusioned with my generation because of the condition of the world. This does not surprise me because I have similar thoughts. Many are determined to improve the world and I am confident they will.
—Hugh McKean, Letter to new students, 1968
In 1956, the secret Fox society met and created the first Fox Day. The Fox called off classes and invited all to participate in various athletic contests, a square dance, and a candlelight procession to Knowles Chapel. He reappeared irregularly on the library lawn until President McKean’s retirement, ordering all to “disperse to the beaches or other suitable places, singly or in groups, to disport themselves according to their whims and financial resources, and, of course, to the state of the weather, giving each an opportunity to escape his routine, and to relax, and perchance to reflect upon those things which cannot be learned from books and which Rollins teaches in so many ways ... “ (The Sandspur, 1965).
Fox Day wasn’t the only surprise up President McKean’s presidential sleeve. In 1957, the campus was aroused by an 11 p.m. fire drill. Pajamaed students trooped to the Student Center for late-night Cokes with the President. In 1958, he brought the campus to an after-hours square dance at the Student Center.
A new Student Association structure was initiated in 1961. Under the new system, students exercised self-discipline through the student courts, and the Administration and housemothers stepped into counselor roles. A year before, the Rollins Union had been formed as a separate organization. Established “to provide a unifying force for the students, faculty, and administration” (The Tomokan, 1961), the Union was governed by a Board of Governors. In 1965, the Union’s entertainment program underwent a major overhaul. Performers made available to Rollins audiences included: the Lettermen, Joe and Eddie, the Kingston Trio, the Righteous Brothers, the Seekers, Dionne Warwick, the Fifth Dimension, and Glen Campbell.
Winners of the Marian Van Buren Cleveland Cups, Talent Night, 1956
Seven national sororities, four national and two local fraternities continued to form Rollins’ Greek community until 1952, when local Alpha Phi Lambda disappeared. In 1952, the Stray Greek Club formed to accommodate fraternity and sorority transfers but did not survive more than a few years. In the spring of 1955, a new Independent women’s group, Alpha Omega Club, asked for approval to form, but was rejected by the Panhellenic Council. Next term, having received permission from the faculty, Alpha Omega functioned with a membership of 20 women selected by school service, group activities, and scholarship. In 1956, S.S.S., a local fraternity, was organized “to develop a well-rounded college student in the areas of social, scholastic, and sports” (The Tomokan, 1957).
Flushed with its success in getting permission for girls to wear jeans and shorts in noon Saturday beanery, the Student Council went one step further in last week’s meeting and passed a motion requesting permission for girls to wear jeans and shorts in their dormitories up to 5 p.m., excepting Sundays.
—The Sandspur, 1950
By 1959, Alpha Omega had vanished and Triple S was installed as national fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. In 1965, Pi Rho Sigma petitioned for approval to form, claiming the number of men enrolled at Rollins had doubled while the total number of men pledging had remained the same. Pi Rho Sigma became national fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon in 1968. Phi Delta Beta, the local that was to become Rollins’ second Phi Delta Theta chapter in 1968, also formed in 1965.
The Greek community President McKean (Rollins X-Clubber, Class of ’30) left at Rollins consisted of seven national sororities, seven national fraternities, and one local—the X-Club.