Oglethorpe Day: A Beloved Tradition Grows

The Petrels of Fire Race ca. 2012

Oglethorpe Day is an annual celebration of Oglethorpe University’s namesake, and as Dean Michelle Hall puts it, a “pride-in-my-school-and-organizations day.”

And this year, there are numerous ways to show your school pride. Student organizations (and maybe even some staff and faculty) will be decorating shopping carts for the parade of shopping cart floats (contact Kendra Hunter for more details). And, to celebrate President Schall’s affinity for wacky socks, the Programming Board is sponsoring a sock decorating event today in The Petrel’s Nest. Then, at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow, on Wednesday, February 13, put on your craziest socks and head to the quad for the exhilarating annual Petrels of Fire race!

While the race usually begins at noon sharp, this year it will begin at 1:00 p.m., due to class scheduling… which doesn’t mean that the bell will only ring once! It will ring 12 times, and runners will race around the quad in hopes of arriving back before the last bell tolls. To my knowledge, no one has ever won this race—maybe you will be the first?

This year's Oglethorpe Day speaker: President Schall

After the race, a surprise guest (a local celebrity!) will lead attendees to Conant Performing Arts Center for the Oglethorpe Day annual address. This year’s speech will be delivered by our own President Schall on the topic of “Non nobis solum (not for ourselves alone): What is the Role of a University President in Liberal Society?”

“We have a very student-centered president,” said Dean Hall.  “Students know they are known and loved by their president…The theme (of his speech) will focus on how to make a difference, and that’s something we want all our students to think about.”

The occasion will include The Ogletones, our new a cappella group, and end with Oglethorpe’s Alma Mater and Fight Song (The Stormy Petrel March), courtesy of OU Winds and Singers. Attendees are then invited to enjoy Coke floats and peach cobbler and ice cream, all served in observance of the day’s Georgia theme.

“We’re building some more traditions into this tradition,” said Dean Hall, who went onto explain that the Presidents of other schools and organizations will be recognized during the event, and that the class with the most participants will win a prize. “Come if you want to support your class, if you are an athlete or the head of an organization… or if you just want to see what socks Dr. Schall is wearing.”

I know my curiosity has been piqued. Join us at Oglethorpe Day, this Wednesday, February 13th starting at 12:45 p.m. on the quad!

Oglethorpe’s Unofficial [Ogle] Mascots

I’ll never forget the first time I spotted the “Ogle-turkey” on campus through my bewildered freshman eyes. “A turkey!?” I thought to myself. “He’s strutting around like he owns the place.”


The elusive Ogle-turkey perched on the deck outside the student center.

I’m now about to enter my junior year and not much has changed. The other day I drove onto campus through the side gate, but not before yielding to the beloved Ogle-turkey who had insisted on crossing as though the stop sign didn’t apply to him. (I guess it didn’t!) I chuckled to myself and thought fondly about how this pretentious bird has evolved into an unofficial mascot for Oglethorpe. No one really knows for sure how we ended up with a stray wild turkey, but this affectionately regarded addition to our community has become legend and ingrained in the student sub-culture.

Or should I call it Ogle-culture? The practice of adding “Ogle” as a prefix to all things Oglethorpe has become a consistent language pattern among students, faculty, and staff. Here in our “Ogle-bubble” we even have our very own vernacular. In fact, the Ogle-turkey is not the only representative of our unconventional campus pets. The felines that live in the woods adjacent to campus are dubbed—what else, but—Ogle-kitties. For the most part they are rather un-socialized, quickly thwarting the domesticating efforts of the occasional student who tries to confine them to their dorm room.

Puppies on the Quad

Joscelyn Stein '13 and Patrick Day '13 enjoy quality time with these rescued pups.

But, if you’re that kid who misses their pet that badly, or even if you’re just an animal lover, there are always animal-friendly events as well. During last semester, students got a little “doggie therapy” when Animal Rescue Savers brought some adorable puppies to the campus quad. Animal Rescue Savers adopts dogs who are on death row at the pound. Even finals couldn’t get us down after a study break with these furry friends. Special thanks to Joscelyn Stein ’13, then Student Government Association President-elect,  for arranging that playdate with rescued Ogle-doggies!