Your source for all things green at Missouri S&T

More on Fitz and stuff

fitzviz.jpg We now have bios of Fitz (the 2008 Honorary St. Patrick) and all of the Honorary Knights. (Hint: click on the word “bios” to read more.)

Starting this week, a steady stream of news releases about plans for the 100th celebration will be leaking out from the Missouri S&T office of public relations. We’ll post links to those stories (about the parade, the re-enactment of the first St. Pat’s on campus, the announcement of St. Pat and his court, the Queen of Love and Beauty candidates, etc.) on this blog.

Also, some folks have been poking around for more information about how St. Pat’s traditions unique to Rolla got started. Lance Haynes is probably the best source of information about the history — he tells us that a kids’ coloring book commemorating the 100th anniversary will soon be widely available in Rolla, and that the coloring book tells the whole story. In the meantime, here’s some of the scoop on the first celebration, which will be re-enacted after the 100th parade March 15:

In 1908, a student request for a much-needed day off to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day was denied. When the students decided to skip classes anyway, faculty members complained to the popular lead administrator Lew Young. Hearing this, the students left their party at a railroad depot and came back to Norwood Hall. Draped in a green robe, one of the students, George Menefee, was serving as St. Pat – the student-anointed patron saint of engineers. Menefee asked Young to bow and receive a blessing.

“I dub you the first Honorary Knight of St. Patrick of Rolla,” Menefee is said to have told the faculty representative.

Dr. Lance Haynes, a professor of speech and media studies at Missouri S&T and an amateur historian, has pieced together the events of 100 years ago through research and speculation.

“Maybe the engineering faculty forgave the students because they thought it was funny that St. Pat was the patron saint of engineers,” Haynes says. “Or maybe Lew and George colluded and planned the whole thing. We’ll probably never know the whole truth.”