Traditions come and go, sometimes slowly and sometimes all at once. The abrupt beginning of the college system in 1957 uprooted decades of traditions that were based on class rivalries–the sophomores versus the freshmen in particular. Other traditions quickly sprang up in the wake of the change, but there’s one tradition that seems to have appeared only relatively recently. I hear campus tour guides earnestly explaining that ancient Rice tradition has it that freshmen enter Rice through the sallyport and then may not go through it again until graduation at the risk of flunking out. Trying to pin down the origins of this has proven difficult.
It’s hard to see how it could have existed in early days. For many decades what is now Founder’s Court was one of the main student parking lots so they were coming in and out through the sallyport all the time. The sallyport was, in fact, a preferred and often crowded hangout, a hub for student government electioneering, the exchange of gossip, flirting, gambling, and other assorted tomfoolery. This activity was actually called “sallyporting.” There was no notion at all that if you walked out to your car your graduation was in danger.
I think it must date from after commencement moved from the front side of Lovett Hall to the back side in 1986, else wise it makes little sense.I can’t really figure it out, though, without help. Could I ask you please to chime in on when you were here and whether this was a tradition then? I’d really appreciate it!
Bonus: We really like to jump the gun around here. High spirits, I suppose.