Friday Afternoon Follies: Sometimes The Only Way To Go Is Around

Pitzer inauguration October 10 1962 academic procession

I think this academic procession took place during the Semi-Centennial in 1962, probably for Pitzer’s inauguration. I freely confess that I’m not sure about this.

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12 Responses to Friday Afternoon Follies: Sometimes The Only Way To Go Is Around

  1. Keith Cooper says:

    This photo appears, to me, to be a photo of people walking out to the academic procession for Commencement. From about 1952 to 1985, Commencement was held on the front lawn, now known as Founder’s Court. That explains why they are walking through a deserted quadrangle — no chairs, no spectators, and they are almost to Lovett Hall.

    The two lines on the right, as we look at them, appears to be the faculty. Notice the diversity of hats and robes and the fact that the line goes back into Fondren — traditional robing grounds for the faculty.

    The four lines on the left have a striking uniformity of regalia; it also appears that the first group is women and the second group is men. I am ignorant of how seating for degree candidates was done in the early 1960s, but I find it plausible that it was not yet done by college. It is believable that they processed with the women before the men — a more genteel time.

    Finally, the fact that the lines are separate makes a great deal of sense. My best guess is that the faculty split into two lines and entered the stage from the sides, while the students separated and came in from the back of the lawn — or some other direction.

    I may be completely off base. If it was the inauguration, I would expect a line of delegates from other institutions. If it was the semi-centennial celebration itself, then they would be walking through a sea of chairs — we know from photos that the semi-centennial celebration was inside the quadrangle rather than on the front lawn. (At the semi-centennial, we would also have a line of delegates.)

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      I think this is a commencment early in the 60s. If you look at the left hand (south side) there are actually five distinct groups, the first all female and the other four appear to be male. this would correspond to the five Colleges that would have existed at that time. The order could also be the ‘age’ of the Colleges which would be possible Jones, Weiss, Hanszen (West Hall), Will Rice(South) and Baker (North).

      • Melissa Kean says:

        I’m convinced. The picture is actually halfheartedly labeled: “Pitzer inauguration, October 10, 1962?” It just didn’t look right, though, and now I see why.

  2. Joni says:

    It could have been symmetric if the line to our right continued to walk straight onto the grass as the other line did. Maybe more eco-conscious? Or maybe the line on the right is indeed the faculty and the other line (students, graduates?) deferred and let them have the sidewalk? Certainly interesting!

  3. Grungy says:

    When have Rice students worn regalia outside of Commencement events?

  4. Keith Cooper says:

    Historically, it is hard to tell. Recently, students robed for the celebration of the centennial — the President’s keynote address on Oct 11. (To be precise, the students who processed were robed.) In the inaugurations that I recall, I don’t believe that we had any significant number of students who processed.

  5. What’s that thing on the left between the hedges? The wreath for Willy’s statue?

  6. almadenmike says:

    It might have been Pitzer’s inauguration after all.

    In the October 3, 1962, issue of the Threshers, a short article (“Senior Plans”) on page 7 states (in part): “Seniors who will take part in the academic processions to be held October 10 and 11 are asked to pick up their academic regalia in the Student Center Store before 4 pm October 9. All members of the class are asked to meet on the first floor of Rayzor Hall, in robes, at 1:45 pm to group for the procession. The same procedure will be followed October 11 at 9:15 am. In case of rain, buses will be available for transportation to the Music Hall, according to the same time schedule. …”

    So the folks on the left, might have been Class of 1963 seniors, grouped according to colleges, as Richard suggested.

    (URL of a pdf of the Oct. 3, 1962, Thresher:

  7. I just had a “duh” moment. Of course at this time seating by college would have separated the women and men, as coed colleges were far in the future.

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