Date

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

Smith, John K.

Other advisers/committee members

Carrell-Smith, Kimberley

Abstract

This thesis looks at class traditions of students at Lehigh University from the founding of the institution in 1865 until the early 1970s, specifically examining how and why they waxed and waned through the years. Traditions for and by students were readily embraced by the undergraduates. Examples included the Calculus Cremation, the cane rush, freshman/sophomore hazing rituals, and campus rules, such as the one dictating the wearing of a freshman hat known as a dink. In their purest form, in the hands of students, these traditions inspired class spirit and an identity as a “Lehigh man.” When administrators or faculty co-opted these traditions in order to gain control, the traditions quickly became contested within the community and faltered or failed. Traditions also withered when they ceased to inspire and motivate the student body.

Included in

History Commons

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