Throwback Thursday: The “Spirit of Augustana” Returns for Another Homecoming


Image C-F4487-2, Homecoming Parade (1960), Augustana College Photograph Collection.

Homecoming at Augustana is without a doubt one of the most exciting and most looked-forward-to events in the fall. Homecoming is a time-honored tradition of inviting alumni back to campus as well as showing our full school pride with our various traditions and activities. This has been the case since the first homecoming in October 1920. We can watch our school grow and develop through our traditions, both new and old, and as reporter Allison Kittrell of The Sunday Dispatch in Moline, Illinois, puts it, “During the homecoming weekend, past and future graduates become part of the spirit of Augustana. After the football game, the concerts, and the dance are over and everyone goes back to his job or his classes, that spirit will remain until next fall, and another homecoming” (Augustana College Homecoming – 1970s Vertical File).


Image C-F3986, Homecoming coronation seen from back of audience in 1916 gym, Augustana College Photograph Collection.

We can have an idea of what homecoming would look like at a particular time thanks to the college’s collection of Homecoming programs (located in MSS 184 Augustana College Homecoming collection) which were given to participants of the events and activities that happened on campus. The programs include information about our football team as well as our opponents. Homecomings in the past usually consisted of a banquet for alumni, students, and faulty followed by the home football game with our fighting Vikings leading us to victory. One interesting addition to the program is a list of chants and songs that would be yelled by the crowd during the game— a tradition that has faded away in more recent years, but was also the beginning of the Yell and Sing competitions still held on campus today. The 1926 Homecoming program gives us a representative list of the popular chants and songs the audience would use during the game to capture that Augustana Spirit.


Taken from the 1926 Homecoming Program (MSS 184 Augustana College homecoming collection, box 3)

These chants, led by the cheerleaders, were just one way to bring everyone together and show that Viking pride. The programs also include pictures of the homecoming court, including nominees and attendants, and especially the crowning of the Vi-King and Vi-Queen in their traditional robes, not unlike what our royalty wears today.


Taken from the 1960 Homecoming Program (MSS 184 Augustana College Homecoming collection, box 4.)

Now our homecoming looks very different. We no longer have a parade, and the events leading up to the football game are perhaps more highly anticipated by the student body. The traditional homecoming parade was canceled in 2001 due to lack of student interest. The parades allowed students to build their own floats and show their school and team pride, as well as compete for prizes and awards for the best float. The parade was replaced with themed fairs and festivals that still occur in our lower quad today. This is still the time we come together and compete in the Cardboard Regatta in the Slough, a tradition started after the creation of the Slough in the 1960s. Our Yell and Sing competitions are very popular and a way for sororities, fraternities and other student groups to come together in fun competition and show their school pride. These new traditions bring everyone together under the “spirit of Augustana” that will last for generations to come.


Augustana Observer 1 November 2002

For further information about Homecoming at Augustana, stop by Special Collections and request MSS 184 Augustana College Homecoming collection to see some historic programs, or take a look at the Augustana College Homecoming vertical file. You can also use the Rockety-I and Observer database to access online articles about past homecoming traditions and student organizations and committees.

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Congratulations, Rob Williams!


Tredway Library is pleased to announce Rob Williams as the winner of the 2016 Tredway Library Prize for First-Year Research for his paper, “Life Projects: Passion versus Rationality.” Rob wrote his paper for HONR 103, “Vision and Visionaries,” taught by Dr. Jason Mahn.

To read Rob’s paper, please visit Augustana Digital Commons here:

In “Life Projects,” Rob engages philosophers Susan Wolf and Søren Kierkegaard, along with several other thinkers, building upon their work to propose his own nuanced view of what it means to live a meaningful life. In his reflection on the research process, Rob writes,

I began my research with library databases that pertained to religion … However, as I began to think about an overarching question for my essay (what does it mean to live a meaningful life?), I realized that philosophy databases could also hold a valuable trove of information. I ended up with a majority of my sources coming from databases like the Philosopher’s Index. I looked at a few articles from sociologists about religion and philosophy in an attempt to find out how people may have been influenced by their desire to find meaning in life. I was not able to incorporate any of that information into my final essay, but, going forward, I will never rule out any area of study as “irrelevant” to my essay.

Indeed, that perspective of moving beyond obvious boundaries is evidenced in Rob’s final paper. This year’s judges (Lucas Street, Rachel Weiss, and Stefanie Bluemle) were impressed by his careful engagement of difficult sources, and his integration of class texts from HONR 103 and HONR 102, as well as outside research, into a cohesive and thoughtful argument.

While Rob’s paper is clearly excellent, the judges did notice some small mechanical errors in its Chicago Manual of Style citations, which they asked him to correct. Rob’s paper is no outlier in this respect; previous library prize winners have been asked to make similar corrections, and other contenders for this year’s prize also contained small citation errors.

Please join the library in congratulating Rob on his win, and watch for upcoming announcements about a ceremony (to be held later this term) to celebrate!

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Throwback Thursday: New Hats on Campus!

Welcome back to Augustana College! Anyone strolling through campus during these summer days may have noticed that Fall Term has commenced yet again. First year students are welcomed on campus a week before the rest of the student body returns at an orientation program facilitated by peer mentors. The goal of the program is to acquaint students both with each other and with Augustana. Students begin to forge friendships, try out new activities, and mentally prepare themselves for the impending onslaught of coursework.

Students move into their dormitories, 1966. Image C-F04183, Augustana College Photograph Collection.

Students move into their dormitories, 1966. Image C-F4183, Augustana College Photograph Collection.

How has orientation and perception of first year students changed over the years? Although Augustana College follows a standard upper and lower classmen division, the differences between students aren’t very noticeable apart from the demeanor that experiences 3-4 years of education provides. In Augie’s early years, however, the division between Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen (as first years were then called), was quite noticeable. The student body fostered a competitive comradery between sophomores and freshmen, and upperclassmen hosted socials and dinners shortly after school began to meet the newly enrolled.

The Augustana Observer wrote an annual column dedicated to welcoming incoming students, typically encouraging their active participation, persistence, and loyalty to Augie in order to grow as a person. Apart from this brief notice of welcome, freshmen received special attention and differentiation from the rest of the students by following the Green Cap tradition. The Green Cap tradition obligated freshmen to purchase small green caps sold to them by the sophomores, who required them to wear the hat until homecoming. During homecoming an annual ‘Frosh-Soph’ football match took place on a muddy field. If the freshmen won they burned their caps afterward; if they lost they wore the caps until Thanksgiving Break.

1964 "Freshman Beanie" modeled by the bust of John Hauberg. MSS 299 Moretz and Stahl family collection of Augustana College materials.

1964 “Freshman Beanie” modeled by the bust of John Hauberg. MSS 299 Moretz and Stahl family collection of Augustana College materials.

Why/how did this tradition begin? It isn’t exactly clear, and was a common part of life at colleges across the country. The practice of the green cap tradition continued at Augustana in various forms for decades, despite being accompanied by chronic controversy. The controversy arose between administration and students based on the ‘enforcement’ of the freshmen imposed by a select sophomore committee should they forget or choose not to wear the hats. Various Observer articles reference face painting with green paint and/or having the forgetful freshmen sing a song during the Student Union (Stu-U) meeting in front of everyone. If you’d like to read the song, consult the September 12, 1929 issue of the Augustana Observer.

In 1933, Dean Arthur Wald and the college faculty voted to suspend Stu-U until December 1st after a fight related to wearing the hats broke out in Chapel between a few sophomores and freshmen. Dean Wald scolded the students involved in the incident and declared that “when physical violence must be used to maintain a tradition, it is time that tradition was discarded” (Oct. 26, 1933 Augustana Observer). Tradition endured, however, and the green caps remained a part of Augustana culture until 1950.


‘Freshmen are the lowliest scum of the earth’ is dutifully repeated by the frosh girls as they “button” to the superiority of a wise sophomore. This is the caption accompanying this image from the 1959 Rockety-I, p. 47. 

1950 marked the end of the era of caps, and transformed into the fashionable era of beanies. No longer green, the blue and gold hats were distributed to Freshmen during orientation, a strong program administrators and students began to develop in throughout the past decade. The donning of Beanies remained a popular practice throughout the 60s, although the intensely segregated hierarchy of the student body declined in large part due to the increase of student mentors participating in freshmen orientation. This orientation involved implementing upperclassmen as leaders to the incoming students. A report found in MSS 368 Norman Moline papers includes details of the 1962 orientation planning and following evaluation, indicating that the term “first year” began to be used around this time as a way to be more inclusive of transfer and nursing students.


1964 orientation activity. Image C-F686, Augustana College Photograph Collection.

Over the next two decades, however, the tradition of wearing the beanies became more and more nonsensical to incoming students, and the debate reached its boiling point during an infamous incident at the 1980 Leaders Talent Show that concluded that year’s orientation. Traditionally, some freshmen were selected by upper classmen to sing on stage while wearing their beanies. However, a student group actively campaigned to end the tradition, and told students to stay in their seats. Amidst the first year confusion from receiving mixed messages, some were forcefully carried onto the stage from the audience, which lead to a review of the Beanie policy and some amusing opinions printed in the Observer, as pictured below. The following year, 1981, saw the banning of the beanie and the end of Augustana cap-wearing initiations.


Augustana Observer, September 17, 1980. Editorial Cartoon by Matt Benson.

Augustana now facilitates three different orientations for new students, and makes sure they feel welcome the minute they step on campus. It’s a beautiful thing to observe how students in every class will change throughout the year and grow into their better selves. For now, however, take a moment to help out someone if they seem new and a little lost, or learn something from someone who’s been around awhile. And, as always, welcome back! For more information on the green caps and beanies, consult the Augustana Observer and Rockety – I database. If you’d like to see one of the beanies in person, stop by Special Collections and request MSS 299 Realia collection, Box 2. 

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What’s the difference between I-Share and ILL?

ILL vs I-Share Final

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Ready… Set… Go!

Fall ChecklistAre you ready for the fall term?

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Welcome to the Viking Tradition!

Viking Tradition 4x6Check out what your fellow Vikings have done as they journeyed through their time at Augustana. Find out about Crazy Connie’s car lot, see sports memorabilia – there’s even a nut with a campus building engraved upon it!

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Looking for student work this fall?

Gustav Mauler is happy to help students returning their library materials!

Gustav Mauler is happy to help students returning their library materials!

The library is looking for a few new student workers to begin this fall. If you are interested in working in the library, fill out the application available on the library’s website, or find out more information on Augie Hub

Our review of applications will begin soon, so get your applications in ASAP!

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