Oglethorpe Day 2014 Welcomes Arthur Blank & Freddie the Atlanta Falcon

Oglethorpe Day, one of the university’s most cherished annual traditions, honors our namesake, James Edward Oglethorpe. Usually held in February, Oglethorpe Day commemorates the anniversary of General Oglethorpe’s arrival in the new world in Savannah, Ga. In 2014, the scheduled Oglethorpe Day was snowed out, so the festivities were rescheduled for a bright and sunny day, April 2. (Not so bad, as it turned out!)

Each year, the celebration kicks off with the Petrels of Fire race—Oglethorpe students race around the quad in hopes of making a full lap before the carillon bells’ twelfth and final chime. Feel the thrill of this year’s race:

Then the crowds process down to the Conant Performing Arts Center to hear from a special guest speaker. This year, we welcomed Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons. President Larry Schall’s conversation with Mr. Blank touched on business, family, philanthropy—and football, of course.

So, although Oglethorpe Day was a few months late, it was certainly no less exciting—just take a look at the photos below, including Petey’s special guest, Freddie, the Atlanta Falcons’ mascot:

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!