Lycoming College Traditions and Symbols
The Lycoming College campus is rich with thought-provoking icons and imagery that will trigger memories of your days on campus long after graduation. These symbols and traditions remind us of the ideals encompassed by Lycoming College — curiosity, inquiry, critical thinking, lifelong learning, community, and connections.
Since 1997, each entering class at Lycoming has passed through the David B Sykes Gate. It is one of the first things you will do as a new student. In fact, New Student Convocation begins with the annual opening of the Gate, and the procession of you and your fellow classmates through the gate to ceremonially mark the beginning of your Lycoming education.
One of the most notable symbols on the Lycoming College campus, viewed by many as a rite of passage, is the Oliver Sterling Metzler Gate. Donated by the Rev. Oliver Sterling Metzler, alumnus and former senior board member, the Metzler Gate was dedicated during the 1939 homecoming weekend. Since that time, the gate has served as an integral part of the College’s commencement ceremony. Each year, graduating seniors process through the gate, both physically and symbolically representing their departure from Lycoming College. For many, this ceremonial act is viewed with the same level of significance as the diploma itself.
Old Main Bell
With no clocks inside classrooms, students were once paid to ring the bell atop the former Old Main, signaling mealtimes, class periods, and even wake up time every day at 6:30 a.m. When the bell cracked in 1941, President Long decided to display the broken bell, and anybody walking the upper quad nowadays will find it resting between Clarke Chapel and the Fine Arts Building among benches and a flower garden.
Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner
Lycoming College's annual Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner is one of the most anticipated events of the fall semester! Fun is had by all while faculty and staff serve students traditional Thanksgiving fare. It’s a chance to relax and bond with classmates while eating a family-style meal, as well as an enjoyable new experience for international and exchange students learning about this American tradition.
Snowden ’til Late
The last Friday of the fall semester brings a Lycoming College tradition set in Snowden Library that eases the stress of upcoming project deadlines and final exams. For more than two decades, Snowden ’til Late has marked the kick-off of finals week in a bustling, yet informal environment that combines study, fun, and relaxation for students who are eager to finish the semester on a high note. Professors host study groups, tutors help perk up papers, math tutors assist in clearing up murky concepts, and students throughout the library enjoy snacks, games, and more, while giving their brains a break.
Following a long-held tradition, Lycoming College invites students, faculty, and the greater Williamsport community to ring in the holidays with its annual Christmas Candlelight Service. Dubbed a “Service of Lessons and Carols,” the annual Christmas Candlelight Service includes scripture readings by College faculty and staff, musical performances from the College’s choir and chamber choir, and from the College’s woodwind and brass ensembles. “Candlelight Carol,” composed by John Rutter, is traditionally sung during the service as candles are lit by the audience.
Late Night Breakfast
A beloved finals week tradition is Late Night Breakfast in the Wertz Dining hall. Offering sustenance to students burning the midnight oil, hearty helpings of eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, potatoes, and more are served up to students looking for a boost to get over that final hump before the end of exams.
Class Years Plaques
Just before Commencement exercises, graduating seniors are given the opportunity to add their signatures to a wooden plaque in the shape of their class year. When alumni return to campus, they’ll always be able to find their class year plaque on the walls of Wertz Student Center and be reminded they are a part of the history of this institution. The next time you walk through Wertz, notice class years dating back to 1971 adorning the walls.
The Rising Sun Armchair
Permanently on display in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the original Rising Sun Armchair was used by George Washington while he served as president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Two authorized reproductions exist. One is in the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia, and the other is used during ceremonial occasions on the Lycoming College campus. Gene Landon ’57 was commissioned to craft the chair for the Center and donated the other reproduction to the College.
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin described the sun carved in the back of the chair as foreshadowing the future of the new country: “I have often looked at (the sun)…without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I know that it is a rising sun.”