Rollins Trivia

By Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70

“Live Rollins Alumni Read the Record”

Headline in The Alumni Record of Rollins College, July, 1925

The Alumni Record of Rollins College

The Rollins College Alumni Association was founded in 1898 by one of Rollins’ first graduates, Clara Louise Guild. Until 1918, the Association held its annual meeting during Commencement Week. With the growing popularity of Founders’ Week, however, the meeting was moved to February. Membership dues were $.50 a year, although by 1923 they had increased to $2.00, and a life membership was $100.00.

Until the annual meeting of May 1917, the Alumni Association had no real objective. It decided then to work towards a gift of chimes, to be presented in honor of one of Rollins’ most beloved faculty members, Thomas R. Baker, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Natural Science. A fund for this purpose had been established in 1909 and it was hoped the Baker Chimes could be given to the College after the end of World War I.

For many years, the activities of the alumni were reported in The Sandspur and The Tomokan. It was decided to publish a separate magazine in 1918, to be “the official publication of the Alumni Association, and [to] serve as a medium for the expression of alumni sentiment about our alma mater and its welfare.” No other issues of The Rollins Alumni Record appeared after Vol. I, No. I, until 1923, when The Alumni Record of Rollins College was revived as a monthly magazine.

In 1923, the Alumni Association in essence voted to become more involved with the life of the College. As well as resurrecting The Alumni Record, membership in the Association was expanded to include any former student. In 1924, the Association adopted a special 16-point program, including fundraising, developing a strong student body, and assisting in intercollegiate athletics through supervisory efforts and in acquiring publicity for the College. Rollins was then experiencing a financial crisis pending its endorsement by the Church Union, and the alumni were charged with raising $400,000 of the emergency funds.

Alumni formed Rollins Circles; active groups included clubs in New York, Boston, Chicago, Ohio, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Miami, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. The alums also kept in touch through alumni chain letters, a clever idea for keeping each other posted on the latest news: send one letter and get 10 back.

College Ring

On recommendation of the Class of ’23, a College ring was introduced in 1924.

Rollins College ring

The ring’s crest portrayed the sun rising from the water, with Neptune and the figure of a swimmer in the foreground. The sun suggested Rollins’ motto, “Fiat Lux,” while both Neptune and the swimmer represented Rollins’ preeminence in water sports.

The onyx and gold ring was available only through the Alumni Association “to eliminate the possibility of ineligibles wearing this handsome ring” (The Alumni Record of Rollins College, 1924). The ring was used by the classes of ’17 to ’29.

Words by Rose Mills Powers. Music by Homer Stanley Pope.

The Alma Mater was written in 1912 by American poet Rose Mills Powers, wife of Rollins Professor of Modern Languages Hiram Powers. The words were set to music by Homer Stanley Pope, Director of the School of Music.

The Alma Mater was first performed by the Rollins Men’s Glee Club during the 1912-13 academic year.

“Sit Lux”

The original seal of Rollins, which had the inscription "Sit Lux."

The original seal of Rollins College bore the Latin inscription “Sit Lux”—“Here is light.” Because the old seal was considered “too conventional,” a new design was authorized in 1905. The Board of Trustees adopted the current seal in 1908. Designed by Miss Grace Lainhart, Director of the School of Fine Arts, it bears Rollins’ more well-known motto, “Fiat Lux”—“Let there be light.”

One of the Rollins Songs

Don’t send my boy to Southern,
A dear old mother said,
Don’t send my boy to Florida,
I’d rather see him dead.

But send him down to Rollins,
It’s better than Cornell;
And rather than to Stetson,
I’d see my boy in —

By-lo, my baby, baby, bye,
By-lo, my baby, baby, bye,
By-lo, my baby, baby, bye,
R-o-l-l-i-n-s, R-o-l-l-i-n-s!

Southern’s run by millionaires,
Stetson’s run by swains,
Florida’s run by farmer boys,
And Rollins is run by brains.

An original sketch of the Rollins mascot, the Tar.

Chorus, 1924

So Why Are We the Tars?

The Alumni Record of October 1924 attributes Rollins’ designation as “Tars” to the College’s long association with water sports.

A more romantic explanation stems from 1917, when a naval training vessel was stationed in Lake Virginia. The war had left only 10 men at Rollins, so the co eds were attracted to the naval trainees, called “Tars.”

Before 1917, the Rollins teams were known as the Blue and Gold.

Read more about the history of the Tar as the Rollins mascot in the article "What's a Tar"?

“It is a very pretty color for girls’ evening dresses…”

The Sand-Spur, 1895

Until 1895, Rollins’ school color was rose-pink, or oleander. Many students felt this “inadequate to express dignity, strength and stability.” The Sand-Spur actively lobbied for royal blue, representing “kingship, power, the highest and deepest in character and aims,” and gold—“unchanging value and real, substantial worth.”

The combination of blue and gold was suggested by a pitcher in the Art Department, which bore the same colors.

Freshman Rules

I. As soon as Green Caps arrive at Leedy’s, all Freshmen will procure one and wear it on all occasions.
II. You must tip your cap upon meeting an upper-classman and step off the walk.
III. Freshmen will open all doors for upper-classmen.
IV. Freshmen girls will see that the walks around Cloverleaf are swept clean at all times.
V. Rooms belonging to freshmen girls must be ready for inspection before the breakfast bugle.
VI. Freshmen girls must be pre sent at breakfast every morning. No excuses allowed.
VII. Positively no freshmen al lowed to use alarm clocks. There is a dire penalty for disobeying this rule.
VIII. All College songs must be memorized by October 2.
IX. Freshmen must compose a song to be sung on the beanery steps before lunch every day after October 1.
X. These rules must be memorized and be repeated immediately when called upon to do so. XI. At all times Freshmen must conduct themselves in a manner befitting their measly station.

The Sandspur, 1924

The Dinky

From 1889 until 1967, Rollins students lived with the creaking and grinding of the “Dinky.” The Orlando and Winter Park Railway was originally six miles long, although it almost tripled its route by later adding 10 miles of track between Winter Park and Oviedo.

The Dinky train

The O. & W.P. ran an observation car which regularly carried Rollins students from Orlando to Winter Park. The railway, with its two engines, “Tea Pot” and “Coffee Pot,” ran trains every two hours. The Rollins station was nothing more than a platform down the hill behind Lakeside Cottage and Lyman Gymnasium.

Not renowned for its speed (the engineer would hold the train while passengers disembarked to pick flowers and oranges), the Dinky was known for its tendency to slip off the tracks—sometimes with the help of students who poured soap or oil on the rails. After a series of acquisitions and mergers, the Dinky ultimately disappeared. The tracks were removed in 1969.

And how did the Orlando and Winter Park Railway get the name “Dinky”? According to the dictionary, a “dinkey” is a small locomotive used for hauling freight, logging, or shunting. But some historians credit Rollins students, who simply called the diminutive railroad as they saw it: “dinky.”

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