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No blarney: St. Pat really is the ‘saint of engineers’

Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader greets St. Pat and his court during Follies on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Anyone who braved the chilly March wind to greet St. Pat on his triumphant entry into downtown Rolla today was also greeted by the familiar chant of S&T students who escorted St. Pat and his court down Pine Street:

Cheers! Cheers! For the saint of engineers!

Every year, S&T students proclaim St. Pat as the patron saint of engineers and honor this distinction with great revelry. But not everyone believes that there’s a connection between St. Patrick and engineering.

Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader set the record straight today, however, by sharing some historical facts that point to the venerable saint’s connection to engineering.

During her welcome address to St. Pat, his court and revelers assembled at the Rolla Bandshell, the chancellor pointed out that St. Patrick “is credited with fostering the development of arts and crafts and introducing the knowledge of the use of lime as mortar in Ireland.”

But wait. There’s more.

“He is also responsible for the initial construction of clay churches in Ireland in the 5th century A.D.,” Chancellor Schrader said. “Another of St. Patrick’s achievements was teaching the Irish to build arches of lime mortar instead of dry masonry. These beginnings of ceramic work developed into organized crafts, and that’s how St. Patrick became the patron saint of ceramic engineers.”

So there you have it — straight from our very own chancellor. And since she’s also an engineer — as well as a native of Chicago, where they dye the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day — she ought to know a thing or two about the patron saint.

But “before I came to Rolla,” she said, “I didn’t know that ‘blood makes the grass grow green’ or that it was necessary to bite the head off of a snake to kill it. But then again, S&T students are the best and brightest around so it must be true!”

For more words of wisdom from Chancellor Schrader, follow her on Twitter at @SandTChancellor.