Seniors clad in caps and gowns processing to graduation across campus and over the bridge; Tubing the still-cold Pemi on hot and sunny spring days; Pumpkins appearing overnight on the spires on our beloved Rounds Tower. These traditions connect us, regardless of when we attended.
Other traditions have faded, and stories from earlier eras bring smiles as the spirit of youth and energy permeates. Have you heard about Freshman wearing beanies? Was P.E. a required course for graduation when you attended? Res Halls may be co-ed now, but for many years “dorms” were assigned either for men or women, coming together only for dinner – which for years required students to dress up with dining hall staff wearing white gloves.

Pumpkins on Rounds Tower

Tradition has it that the pumpkins first emerged on the spires of Rounds Tower in the mid 1970’s. They’ve been spotted every year, save one while Rounds Hall received a new slate roof. Just how they get up there is a well-guarded secret, and conjuring the best, if far-fetched, tale on how it happens is a favorite campus past time. In the age of social media, so is capturing a photo to share.

First Fire

The lighting of the First Fire in the HUB became an event in the fall of 2011, started by the Director of the Hartman Union, Terri Potter. Complete with commemorative (and collectible) mugs, cider donuts, hot cocoa and cider, this event packs the Fireplace Lounge with students, faculty, and staff. Professor of English Liz Ahl delights everyone with a fire-inspired work of original poetry, the fireplace is lit, and everyone rushes to get their mug and gnosh on the sweets. The whole event lasts maybe 15 minutes, but it’s anticipated and talked about year round.

Biederman’s Birthday Sandwich

Biederman’s Deli and Pub –remembered by many as the Cellar Pub – has been a Main Street staple since 1973. The perk of getting a free birthday sandwiched appeared sometime later, and for many it’s become a tradition to get a sandwich when celebrating your latest trip around the Sun. Another example of how the Biederman family have always been generous to the Plymouth community!

Photo with Frost

Robert Frost came to Plymouth Normal School at the request of his colleague from Pinkerton Academy, Dr. Ernest Silver, who was himself recruited to serve as PNS’ president. Frost taught from 1911-12 before heading to Europe to pursue writing full-time. In 2005, a statue of the former professor and Poet Laureate took permanent residence between Ellen Reed House and Rounds Hall. Taking a selfie with the bard has been a campus tradition ever since.

Pints with PSU

While most Senior Week activities are gathering of classmates and friends, the Pints with PSU tradition brings together members of the graduating class with their favorite professors, coaches, and staff members. Our intimate setting has always made personal connections between students and faculty/staff a hallmark of the Plymouth experience. The commemorative glass was proof, that yes, you did indeed get to have a beer with your professor before graduating!

Homecoming Tailgating

This tradition returned at Homecoming 2015 after a long hiatus. It started small that year, and has grown steadily to reach capacity of nearly 300 cars in 2019! Tailgating happens before the football game, but it’s all about friendship, family, food, and tradition. Old friends catch up annually, and recent graduates join in and quickly make friends with Panther alumni who came before. Tailgating at Homecoming 2021, October 1-3, will surely be one to remember as we all come together again.

Greek Alumni Weekend

You’d be hard-pressed to find a group with more spirit that our Greek Alumni. 2010 was the inaugural year of what has become the biennial Plymouth State Greeks Alumni Reunion. The tradition of wearing your colors and taking the group photo in front of Mary Lyon Hall is one of the hallmarks of the weekend, as is the all-Greek gathering on Saturday night. Greek Alumni have many traditions … most of them guarded secrets revealed only to those who wear their letters!

Commencement Procession Across Campus

The ceremonial procession from the Student Union, across campus in front of Rounds, through the archway at the Silver Center, and across the bridge that spans the Pemi marks the beginning of the next stage. Graduates adorned with sashes and pins, mortar boards decorated, and hearts filled with pride and gratitude make their way to the Holderness side of campus to celebrate their accomplishment. Commencement honors that transition in name and intent, with suitable pomp and circumstance that reflects one of the oldest campus traditions.