Oglethorpe Founder’s Day Tradition

by Dr. Paul Hudson ’72

Oglethorpe University was founded as a “living memorial” to the founder of Georgia.  Every February, OU Day celebrates the day—February 12, 1733—that James Edward Oglethorpe arrived at Yamacraw Bluff (modern day Savannah) and founded the colony of Georgia.

6.7_OglethorpeDayBrookhaven0001Oglethorpe Day always begins with a lone piper playing the summons to the celebration. The first event is the Petrels of Fire race, inspired by the film Chariots of Fire. And so students compete by racing around the university quadrangle, attempting to complete the 270-yard course before the famed Lupton Tower bell chimes ring out the noon hour.

After the race, there is a campus convocation which has a reflection on various aspects of the rich history and traditions of the university or its namesake, James Oglethorpe.  It is a fitting annual custom for the school whose collegiate gothic architecture was inspired by his alma mater, Corpus Christi College of Oxford University.

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