MacMurray has had numerous traditions that many cherish as staples of their own Mac experience. With a history as old as ours, you can look back on the past and reminisce on the many ways that Mac has helped to shape and make you. Here you will find information on those traditions that have impacted so many members of the Mac Fam, as well as past photos and current alumni testimonials. For further information on MacMurray traditions, old and new, contact the Alumni Office. Photos and more can be found through the MacMurray Archives.
To view information for the most recent Homecoming events, click on a logo below. Please contact the Office of Alumni Relations for information on events not listed here.
The Green Ribbon Ceremony
In the fall of 1928, the sophomore class initiated a new tradition, a form of freshman hazing that continued well into the 1990s. The sophomore women required the new freshmen to wear a green ribbon around their necks until Thanksgiving. If caught without the ribbon, a fine of 25 cents was imposed. On November 28, 1928, out of rage and rebellion, the freshmen burned an effigy of the sophomore class as well as the ribbons.
The tradition continued, but with less emphasis on hazing and more emphasis on its symbolism: a binding of sisterhood and a connection of the present with the past. Dressed in white, the senior Big Sister ties the green ribbon — a symbol of loyalty — around the freshman Little Sister during a candle-lit ceremony in the chapel as the senior women serenaded the freshman with traditional college songs of "Our Best to You," "You'll Never Walk Alone" or the Alma Mater. At the end of orientation week, the green ribbons were then snipped off, and the women formed a two-ring circle to burn the ribbons outside on Rutledge lawn.
By Stately Elms
Known as the "College Song," "By Stately Elms" was written in 1890 by then-instructor in voice Phebe K. Murray '90. The first public performance of the song was given in 1907 by the Glee Club. The original second verse, which referenced Belles Lettres and Phi Nu, was re-written to reflect the addition of other societies on campus, but the first verse has remained unchanged over the years.
- download .mp3
- download sheet music
- "By Stately Elms" as performed by the MacMurray Women's Choir, 1958
Hail to MacMurray
"Hail to MacMurray" first appears in the College's history in 1932 in a class day program. The original lyrics are credited to Mildred Rose Kane '34, and the original music is credited to Vivian Swengel Smith '34. When MacMurray College for Men was established under President Norris in 1955, male students adopted their own school song, and it was sung along with "By Stately Elms" at graduation until 1971, when "Hail to MacMurray" was adopted as the alma mater for both. At that time, the second verse of "Hail to MacMurray" was re-written to include the men's motto, which used words written by Dale Wolff '61.
The words used today are as follows:
Hail to MacMurray, the pride of us all!
Hail to our alma mater, may her standards never fall!
Hail to MacMurray, we pledge our loyalty!
Knowledge, Faith, and Service shall our ensign ever be.
Wisdom gained through college illuminates the way:
How to meet with reverence the duties of each day.
Thus our code is molded to lead a loyal clan.
Wisdom, Duty, Reverence shall be our goal and plan.
Thanksgiving on Campus
It used to be that students didn't get to return home to celebrate Thanksgiving, rather they had their own traditions that took place for many years at MacMurray.
Students were woken at dawn by the seniors, who, dressed in their black caps and gowns, carried lighted candles and sang Thanksgiving hymns through the corridors of each dorm. The students then ate the traditional breakfast of oranges, hot dogs and Mrs. Ollie Brown's Cinnamon Rolls along with coffee or milk. Next came the hockey game, where the Army team (freshmen and juniors) played against the Navy team (sophomores and seniors) for the championship title. Following the game was the formal banquet held in McClelland Dining Hall where students gathered together to eat with their MacMurray Family, and afterwards walked to the Social Room for the yearly Tea Dance sponsored by the YWCA. The evening brought another buffet supper served in Harker Hall, and finished off with a play performed by the Drama Club in the Little Theater.
President Mark Tierno embarked on an eight-week trek traveling a total of 14,169 miles around the nation to rally the alumni army from June 1 to July 26, 2017. The MacNation Tour 2017 was executed to thank longtime supporters of MacMurray College, to increase alumni participation, to inform alumni and friends of the College's mission and vision and encourage them to support the institution and to engage with current and prospective students.
Within the two-month span, the Tour hosted 28 events with a total attendance of 861 individuals across the country; President Tierno made 38 visits to longtime donors of the College; 161 current and prospective students attended various events and were awarded a $500 one-time award for attending; and a total of $301,734 was secured as a result of the Tour.
Thanks to the hard work of numerous staff, faculty and volunteers as well as the detailed planning and success of the Tour, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named MacMurray College a gold award winner of both its 2018 Circle of Excellence awards program and its Pride of CASE District V Awards Program. A panel of experts selected the College's entry in the Special Events: Multi-Day category from among 34 entries. The CASE Judging Panel noted that the MacNation tour 2017 was a "very well thought out and meticulously planned program." "This entry provided clear objectives and provided excellent evidence to support their outcomes," said the CASE Judging Panel. "The program was creative and included a number of volunteers and alumni to support the program. Not many presidents would travel for 8 weeks straight in an RV."
Mrs. Ollie Brown's Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Shared by Liz Reeves, a manager at The Hub in the basement of Rutledge Hall, this recipe originally belonged to her mother, Mrs. Ollie Brown. Reeves' cinnamon rolls were truly a "hot" item, known to be the sole reason many students got out of bed each day.
1 cup lukewarm water
2 cakes yeast (Fleischman's)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup soft butter or margarine
2 whole eggs
3 cups flour
Place water in a large bowl. Add the yeast, salt and half of the sugar. Stir in one cup of flour. Let stand about ten minutes. Add rest of ingredients, make a soft dough that can be handled. Let rise until double in bulk. Knead well, roll out about ½ inch thick. Spread with melted butter, then cinnamon mixed with sugar. Roll up like a jelly roll and cut in ¾ inch slices. Place in well-greased pan, then sprinkle with ¾ cup brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, dot with ⅓ cups butter. Let rise until light. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 20-30 minutes.
½ lb vanilla wafers
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen strawberries
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ pt whipping cream, whipped (or 2 cup Cool Whip)
Crush wafers; combine with butter. Press ⅔ of crumbs into 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Cream 1 cup powdered sugar and ½ cup margarine. Add to above one package frozen strawberries, ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans and ½ pint whipped whipping cream (or 2 cups Cool Whip). Pour strawberry mixture over crumbs and sprinkle on remaining crumbs. Freeze at least 24 hours before serving.