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Below are examples of several cherished staples of the MacMurray experience. For further information on MacMurray traditions, old and new, contact the Alumni Office. Photos and more can be found through the MacMurray Archives.

Student Traditions

The Green Ribbon Ceremony

Photo of a senior tying a ribbon on a freshman in Annie Merner Chapel.

In the fall of 1928, the sophomore class initiated a new tradition, a form of freshman hazing that continued well into the 1990s. Sophomores required the new freshmen to wear a green ribbon around their necks until Thanksgiving without removal. If caught without the ribbon, a fine of 25 cents was imposed. So annoyed were the freshmen over this requirement that on the night of November 28, 1928, they burned an effigy of the sophomore class at the same time as the ribbons.

The tradition endured but with less emphasis on hazing and more emphasis on its symbolism: a binding of sisterhood, a connection of the present with the past. In the more modern day fashion, the big-sister senior ties the green ribbon around the little-sister freshmen during a candle-lit ceremony in the chapel at the end of opening week. The freshmen are serenaded by the senior women with traditional college songs of "Our Best to You", the Alma Mater, or "You'll Never Walk Alone." The green ribbons are then snipped off, and the women form a two-ring circle to burn the ribbons outside on the lawn.


By Stately Elms

Photo of piano keys.

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.

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.


Mac Dessert

Photo of the Mac dessert.

1/2 lb vanilla wafers
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen strawberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 pt whipping cream, whipped (or 2 cup Cool Whip)

Crush wafers; combine with butter. Press 2/3 of crumbs into 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Cream 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup margarine. Add to above one package frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, and 1/2 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.

Mrs. Ollie Brown's Cinnamon Rolls

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 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 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 1/2 inch thick. Spread with melted butter, then cinnamon mixed with sugar. Roll up like a jelly roll and cut in 3/4 inch slices. Place in well-greased pan, then sprinkle with 3/4 cup brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, dot with 1/3 cups butter. Let rise until light. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 20 - 30 minutes.