History of Fox Day

The History of Fox Day

Explore the history of every Rollins student's favorite college tradition: Fox Day.

Cat and Fox societies

The Fox and the Cat

In January 1934, Hamilton Holt, who served as Rollins’ president from 1925 to 1949, acquired statues of a fox and a cat from Senator Murray Sams. These statues permanently stood on the walkway of Rec Hall—a structure the pool replaced.

Inspired by the two statues, Holt founded a “Cat Society” for women and a “Fox Society” for men. According to the Rollins Archives, these societies were exclusive groups made up of four women and four men each, elected by an annual vote of the student body. The women elected the foxes; the men elected the cats.

These privileged members were the only people permitted to touch the statues. But occasionally, the fox and cat were taken and hidden as practical jokes. The year 1949 was tragic because the cat statue was smashed beyond repair. To this day, the crime remains unsolved.

President McKean puts the Fox out

Beginning of a Tradition

On May 17, 1956, President Hugh McKean (1951-1969) started Fox Day. The grief-stricken, lonely fox was placed on the horseshoe, and the day’s classes were canceled. After a brief assembly, activities began at 5:30 a.m. with a treasure hunt, and ended with a square dance and a picnic in the evening.

The students enjoyed the tradition so well that in 1958, when President McKean discarded it, they resurrected Fox Day themselves. This initiated an agreement between the students and McKean, who granted them freedom for the day on the condition that they return in the evening for a picnic and a choir performance in the Knowles Chapel.

Fake Fox Day

When President Jack Critchfield (1969-1978) came to Rollins, he discontinued the tradition due to the turbulence of the sixties. The fox was given back to McKean, and the welfare of Rollins, its presidents and its traditions.

Perhaps hoping to revive the tradition, seven students decided to create their own statue of a fox. They then placed their creation on Mills Lawn in the early morning hours of May 3, 1976, thus creating their own—albeit fake—version of Fox Day.

President Thad Seymour with the Fox

Return of the Fox

The savvy fox found his way back to campus in 1979, during Thaddeus Seymour’s administration (1978-1990). Seymour said, “When I was president of Wabash College in Indiana, we had a similar day called ‘Elmore Day.’ It was very natural to me, and I believe any sensible college should have a day like this.” So the popular Fox Day was reinstated and continues today.

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Though lacking a square dance and evening sing-a-long, Fox Day as it exists today still brings the Rollins community together to do something “as a college.” This Fox Day, you can expect free entertainment, snacks, and refreshment all day long.

Past Fox Days

President Grant Cornwell

2024 Wednesday, April 17

2023 Thursday, April 6

2022 Wednesday, April 6

2021 Tuesday, April 13

2020 Friday, April 17

2019 Thursday, April 11

2018 Tuesday, April 17

2017 Wednesday, April 19

2016 Wednesday, March 30

Craig McAllaster, acting president

2015 Wednesday, April 15

President Lewis Duncan

2014 Thursday, April 10

2013 Tuesday, April 2

2012 Thursday, March 29

2011 Wednesday, April 6

2010 Thursday, April 8

2009 Tuesday, April 7

2008 Tuesday, April 8

2007 Wednesday, April 11

2006 Tuesday, April 11

2005 Tuesday, April 12

President Rita Bornstein

2004 Tuesday, April 6

2003 Friday, April 11

2002 Thursday, April 11

2001 Wednesday, April 4

2000 Tuesday, April 18

1999 Tuesday, April 20

1998 Monday, April 20

1997 Monday, May 5

1996 Monday, April 22

1995 Monday, April 24

1994 Wednesday, April 27

1993 Monday, April 26

1992 Wednesday, April 29

1991 Monday, April 22

President Thaddeus Seymour

1990 Friday, April 13

1989 Tuesday, April 13

1988 Tuesday, March 22

1987 Thursday, April 16

1986 Monday, March 24

1985 Thursday, March 14

1984 Thursday, March 22

1983 Wednesday, March 23

1982 Friday, April 16

1981 Wednesday, April 15

1980 Tuesday, April 1

1979 Monday, April 23

Fred Hicks, acting president

President Jack Critchfield

1970-1977 No Fox Day

President Hugh McKean

1969 Tuesday, May 13

1968 Tuesday, May 14

1967 Thursday, May 18

1966 Wednesday, May 18

1965 Tuesday, May 11

1964 Wednesday, May 6

1963 Thursday, May 2

1962 No Fox Day

1961 Friday, May 5

1960 Friday, May 13

1959 Friday, March 13

1958 Tuesday, February 18

1957 Tuesday, May 20

1956 Thursday, May 17