Rollins Trivia

By Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70

Rollins’ Coat of Arms

Rollins' Coat of Arms

The Rollins Coat of Arms, adopted in 1933, carries a blue St. Andrew’s cross on a gold shield. The cross suggests Florida’s participation in the Confederacy, while the two swords emblazoned on the cross were taken from the Rollins family coat of arms. The book above the cross is a symbol of knowledge, and the emblem below designates a spring, here representative of Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth.

According to the designer, Knowles Memorial Chapel architect Ralph Adams Cram, “These devices together mean that the true fount of youth is knowledge, and that with these two swords, the spirit of youth and the spirit of knowledge, used in the service of the cross, man may hope to attain a real culture which can cope with the evil and ignorance of the world.”

“Where is St. Andy?”

The Sandspur, Nov. 6, 1925

“It has been decided by the Classes of 1926 and 1928 that ANDREW CARNEGIE has rested too long on the walls of the stately building erected by him for Rollins College. It is the intention of ourselves and we know it will be of our successors to guard and protect our PATRON SAINT with our very lives if necessary. Under no circumstances can we permit him to the profane and unlawful custody of the classes of 1927 and 1929 and their ‘ODD’ successors.”

The whereabouts of St. Andy occupied Rollins from 1925, when the bronze plaque of Andrew Carnegie disappeared from the entrance to Carnegie Hall, to 1930, when St. Andy took a two-year vacation.

Under the rules imposed by the original proclamation, St. Andy had to be returned to his original resting place twice a year: on Armistice Day and on Alumni Day. The classes in possession of St. Andy had a five-minute head start from the time of St. Andy’s removal on each of these days.

St. Andy had a habit of reappearing in morning Chapel, and departure of the Andy-less classes in pursuit was often rapid and noisy. In 1926, St. Andy was captured by the Odds, but was quickly reclaimed by the Evens.

O.D.K. revived the tradition of St. Andy in 1932, after a year’s search for the missing plaque. The men’s honorary felt a rivalry between the Freshman and Sophomore classes would be good for school spirit, but the reappearance of the “Andymen” lasted only two years.

Fugitive Publications

The Annual Catalogue routinely listed the R-Book, Sandspur, Flamingo, and Tomokan in its list of student publications, but the enterprising students were always generating new publications.

“The Second Best Literary Magazine of the Youngest Generation” appeared in 1928. The Purple Buzzard earned a reference in the 1929 Annual Catalogue as “a humorous magazine,” but it soon fulfilled its own prophecy: “The Purple Buzzard joins with others of the wiser and more advanced publications, in fearing not that it will be highly successful.”

The Rollins Racketeer (Vol. I, No.1, Jan. 9, 1932) proudly proclaimed itself “ABSOLUTELY UNCENSORED!” After five issues, the humor magazine suffered extinction “because of forced censorship difficulties.”

“Published on demand by the Rollins Secret Six,” The Moron Exhaust debuted in 1933. Satirizing the Sandspur’s self-description, it declared itself “Assuming, yet weak, dull and blunt, carefully relaxed, yet as smoky and laxidazical as its name infers ...” A serious alternative to The Sandspur was launched in 1938, but the combination newspaper-and-magazine, Realist, was quickly abandoned. In 1939, The Arts in Rollins College proposed serving an audience of students, faculty, and local artists. Although sanctioned by the College, it received no funding from the Publications Union. The staff of the literary and art magazine managed to produce two issues.

The Thorn (“We Print What You Think”) appeared in 1954 to question the complexion of campus politics. Fifteen years later, the Rollins College Chapter of Youth for a New America produced another journal titled The Thorn. That Thorn was, in turn, lampooned by The Rose.

The Sandspur and The Flamingo continued—for the most part—to provide Rollins with “above-ground” forums for opinion and creativity. In 1963, responsibility for publication of The Sandspur fell briefly to the Publications Union. In 1969, The Flamingo fell victim to Publications Union cutbacks. None of Rollins’ major official publications was without financial difficulties in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1967, Rollins’ “Underground Newspaper,” Dog Nostrils, appeared, reminding all readers “Only 17 more years till 1984.” Dog Nostrils’ ad for the extravaganza “GINZBERG” proclaimed an illustrious, if eclectic cast: Charlton Heston as Allen Ginzberg, Richard Burton as Jack Kerouac, Laurence Olivier as Timothy Leary, Frank Sinatra as Bobby Dylan, Peter Sellers as William Burroughs, Sophia Loren as Joan Baez, Walter Brennan as William Carlos Williams, and Woody Allen as Ginzberg as a child.

Something for everyone.

Peace Monument

Pause, Passer-by, and hang your head in shame. This engine of destruction, torture, and death symbolizes the prostitution of the inventor, the avarice of the manufacturer, the blood-guilt of the statesman, the savagery of the soldier, the perverted patriotism of the citizen, the debasement of the human race. That it can be employed as an instrument in the defense of liberty, justice and right in nowise invalidates the truth of the words here graven. Hamilton Holt.

The Peace Monument was dedicated on Armistice Day, 1938. The German shell, obtained from a friend of Kaiser Wilhelm, was mounted on a stone base designed by Rollins sculpture instructor Constance Ortmayer. The Monument was inscribed with a quotation from Victor Hugo and a sobering message to passersby from President Hamilton Holt.

The Peace Monument was destroyed in 1943.

Return of the College Ring

While not everyone will like the design, it will be accepted as a part of Rollins just as the Spanish architecture and the conference plan.
The Sandspur, 1954

The Class of ’56 rediscovered and readopted the College ring that had been approved by the Board of Trustees in 1930. On the recommendation of the Alumni Association, the Trustees accepted the design by Rollins art instructor Mrs. Sophie Frances Parsons. The ring had a round, deep blue stone—onyx or sapphire—overlaid with the College seal or fraternity letters.

The Class of ’52 had attempted to win Trustee approval of a new design, but the 1930 ring remained Rollins’ official ring.

Pity the Alum

Rollins Alumni shield

Editorial, The Sandspur
February 24, 1951

We will speak of the alumnus. The much pestered but never forgotten critter who doesn’t stand a chance to begin with because his Latin name is practically never spelled with the right number or gender in mind.

College presidents and Alumni secretaries are prone to regard the alumnus as well as the alumna a ready source of cash for the pet project or emergency that is always hitting the old Alma Mater.

We say all that any alumnus owes his college is honesty and fairness.

If he is honest and fair to his college, he need never have a twinge of conscience for having turned down a request for funds because of a deficient bank account. He need never feel guilty for having turned down the school for some project dear to his heart. He need never hate himself for just plain wallowing in luxury and ignoring the pleas of an indigent college, if he is honest and fair to that college.

But the honesty requires a little work.

The alumni are the walking authorities on Rollins. If a student in California, Louisiana, or Canada wants to know what this college is like, what educational ideals it stands for, what caliber of fellow student he will find here, the authority to which he goes is an alumnus.

It makes little difference whether the authority is a grad of one, ten or fifty years ago, he is accepted as one who knows. And rightly. But we will ask the alumni: can you honestly answer the questions of a prospective student today? Before the questions of the prospective student are answered in honesty and fairness to your college, you must know the truth about Rollins today.

This honesty will work two ways: it will discourage the prospective student who, because of temperament or objectives, won’t be happy here; and it will encourage the great number of students who can find true knowledge, great fun, and real values offered by the warm spirit of a small liberal arts college that is Rollins.

The greater the number who seriously consider the advantages of a Rollins education, the finer an undergraduate body we will have and the better a college will be Rollins.

If the Rollins Family was a family to you, there is a way you can repay the debt every man owes to his family; at the same time you can extend the family’s blessings to others. If you know a man or woman who can profitably join us in an education for living, send him to Rollins.

The interest of the alumni as informed good-will ambassadors is the finest service they can render their Alma Mater.

[Derek Dunn-Rankin ’52]

Walk of Fame

Walk of Fame millstone

The first stone Hamilton Holt gave Rollins College was not destined for the Walk of Fame. In 1927, President Holt presented a marble slab from the home of educator Mark Hopkins to be laid in the cornerstone of the Knowles Memorial Chapel.

Two years later, President Holt donated 22 stones from his family home in Connecticut. Those stones were the foundation for the Walk of Fame, “conceived as a permanent memorial to the great men and women in history, past and present.” The original walk ran between Carnegie and Knowles Halls. The headstone that now introduces the Walk of Fame is a 200-year-old mill stone from Holt’s Woodstock home.

All students and faculty were invited to contribute stones to the Walk, although President Holt admitted some had to be rejected because they weren’t sufficiently “famous.” Probably the most problematic stone Holt ever obtained was that of the Dionne Quintuplets. The President’s initial request for a stone was rejected because the guardians of the quints had been swamped with similar requests from mothers who believed such stones could enhance fertility. Prexy replied that he really didn’t think Rollins fell in the same category as “superstitious mothers,” and the guardians responded that Rollins was welcome to a stone—anytime someone wanted to come to Canada and get it.

Hamilton Holt and Rollins got the stone.

The Order of the Cat and the Order of the Fox

After some hard bargaining, Hamilton Holt was able to acquire two stone statues, one of a cat and one of a fox. The statues were placed at the head of the walk to Recreation Hall and, in 1934, President Holt declared two new honorary organizations: the Order of the Cat and the Order of the Fox.

The Cats were “symbolic of the dangerous Softness of the feline, her slim Sleekness, and her vicious Spite when aroused. A creature of the Night, filled with Mystery and Allure ...”

The Foxes were representative of “bold Cleverness, insidious Craft, and sharp Cunning” (The Sandspur, 1935).

Cats and Foxes (five of each) were elected by their fellow students; the girls voted for the Foxes and the boys voted for the Cats. Election was considered a “dubious honor.” Members included Dean Enyart and Dean Sprague. No one other than a Cat or a Fox could touch the statues. The penalty for breaking this rule was an unexpected swim in Lake Virginia.

The Orders of the Cat and the Fox continued until 1944. The statue of the Cat was ultimately vandalized, and the Fox was adopted by Hugh McKean ... but that’s another story.

Bells, Bugles, and Chimes

A crane hoists the bell into the Knowles Memorial Chapel belltower.

On April 17, 1885, the day Winter Park was selected as the site of Florida’s first college, the news was announced to the community by the bell in the Congregational Church.

When classes began at Rollins College, a bell in Knowles Hall was rung every hour on the hour from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dr. Frederick Lewton helped subsidize his tuition by being the bellringer—$9.00 for nine months of ringing—but he did admit the job was confining.

In 1909, the bell was destroyed in the Knowles Hall fire, and the bellringer was soon succeeded by a bugler. The bugle continued to summon students to classes and the Beanery until 1953, when chimes—a gift of the Class of ’52—were installed.

The original bell from the Winter Park Congregational Church was presented to the College in 1950. In 1956, the Founders’ Bell was installed in the Chapel tower. It took three hours to move the bell from its pedestal in front of the Alumni House to the Chapel tower, which had been enlarged to accept it. The Founders’ Bell still rings from the Chapel tower to announce Chapel services, funerals, and College convocations.

While the arrangements were being made to alter the tower to fit the bell, the clapper was removed and the bell was placed in front of the Alumni House. It was the center of attraction there, and a custom began for the boys who passed by after softball games to hit the bell a few times with their bats.

As one story goes, Pres. McKean decided that he would join in the fun and beat the bell too. Someone who was standing next to him (and apparently hadn’t been around Rollins very long) cautioned him not to beat the bell because the president might hear of it and get angry. The president stopped his beating, turned to the boy and replied, ‘I AM the president.’

—The Sandspur, 1959

Harvard Plot to Demoralize Meers Revealed

A fish hangs from the flagpole on Mills Lawn.

by John van Metre

Students carefully nursing Monday morning hangovers were shocked beyond description at the incongruous sight of a giant fish suspended from the flagpole. Some though it was made of wood, but a cautious poke revealed its awesome authenticity. Others merely gasped in astonishment and vowed “Never again,” or “That last zombie was too much.” Bill Meers viewed the spectacle with a practiced eye, then gulped and fled to the nearest men’s room.

In fact there was a very striking resemblance between the fish, a very real tarpon, and a grotesquely enlarged goldfish. This gave rise to many rumors as to its origin. Some authorities claimed that Harvard, upon hearing of Rollins’s challenge to its goldfish-swallowing supremacy, had sent the fish by way of one of its regional representatives. It is well known that Harvard cherishes its reputation as the leading goldfish school, and the fish may have been a gentle hint that the Rollins record of three fish swallowed is still far from the Harvard mark of 18.

The Sandspur, 1948

Tar Baby

Tar Baby wears a freshman beanie.

Dear Hugh,

This is ‘Tar Baby.’

She is not very old but she can get along without her mother.

Tar Baby has a lot of school spirit and she loves Rollins. If you let her stay around on the campus she will help the baseball and basketball and soccer teams win their games.

I hope you and all the students have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you all like Tar Baby.

Merry Christmas,

Santa Claus

Tar Baby arrived at Rollins in a box festooned with red ribbons. The bay gray thoroughbred Sicilian burro was a gift from President McKean and lived on the McKeans’ Genius Drive “ranch” when she was not inspiring the Tars to victory.

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