Campus Life

Oglethorpe Day 2024 celebrates humanitarianism and civic duty

The sun shone brightly on this year’s Oglethorpe Day celebration, a beloved university tradition that beams with school spirit. Dressed in layers of black and gold — and red, for Valentine’s Day — students, faculty, staff and alumni came together today to show their love for their university.

This annual tradition celebrates the university’s namesake, James Edward Oglethorpe. It is on Oglethorpe Day that we are reminded of the motto of the original trustees of Georgia: Non sibi sed aliis (Not for self, but for others).

The day began with the 34th-annual Petrels of Fire footrace, which challenges runners to complete one lap around the quad before the university’s iconic carillon bells toll 12 times.

Running in this year’s race were Oglethorpe students Antonio Fuentes ’27, Javier Martinez ’24, Evan Thomas ’27, Rainey Morris ’26 and AJ Bonds ’27. Additionally, this year’s runners were cheered on by former Oglethorpe track coach and Petrels of Fire race steward Bob Unger.

The race was followed by a lecture from DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. An avid historian, Thurmond’s new book is out this week: “James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia: A Founder’s Journey from Slave Trader to Abolitionist,” an examination of the life and career of Georgia’s founder, an outspoken — yet imperfect — humanitarian. Tracing the “revolutionary” history of Oglethorpe in his speech, Thurmond extolled the importance of the pursuit of the common good.

“We need Oglethorpe. We need Oglethorpe University. We need Oglethorpe University in Georgia — in the world,” said Thurmond. “I believe James Edward Oglethorpe and his original vision for Georgia will re-energize and restore a broader, more inclusive vision for our state.”

After, Thurmond provided signed advanced copies of his book for members of the Oglethorpe community, who chatted enthusiastically with the author.

Finally, the day closed out with Coke floats and other treats on the Conant Veranda, ending the festivities on a sweet note.

Flip through this year’s photos below, and watch Michael Thurmond’s lecture above.

Oglethorpe Day 2024

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