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Bittle bash a great success

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Lauren Halbeisen

Staff writer

Roanoke College is very involved in everything they do.  One event in particular is the Bittle Bash which celebrates the birthday of the first president David Bittle. This year the college is recognizing Bittle and his 200 years. This is what the college had to say,

This year, Dr. Bittle would have turned 200 years old, so the college decided to recognize his milestone birthday with a special edition of RC Bittle Bash.

Since 1993, the late president’s birthday has been a big event on Roanoke’s campus. Each year in November, the college’s History department hosts a bonfire on Roanoke’s back quad, horse-drawn carriage rides and a torch-lit parade to Bittle’s Salem gravesite. An evening celebration, with karaoke and food, follows in the Colket Center.

For this year’s birthday bash, Roanoke hosted a 4 p.m. gathering, called Bittle @ 200, at Fintel Library. College representatives spoke about the former president’s legacy and shared historic relics to recognize Nov. 19, 1811, Bittle’s birthday.

Some of Bittle’s important documents, photos and sermons (he was a Lutheran minister) were displayed on the library’s main floor for at least the last a month.

Also, the college unveiled for the first time Bittle’s pre-Civil War minerals collection. Last summer, several Roanoke faculty and staff members pulled bins of rocks from the attic of Crawford Hall, a campus residence hall. For the past few months, four Roanoke students have cleaned and identified much of the collection’s 1,000 pieces that were found. The students showcased more than 200 pieces during the birthday gathering.

Refreshments will be served during a reception after the gathering.

Traditional Founders Day activities are slated for the rest of the evening, beginning with a bonfire at 7:30 p.m. on Roanoke’s back quad. A parade to Bittle’s grave at East Hill Cemetery is at 8 p.m., followed by a party on the Colket Center’s first floor.

Students who have gone on the walk to the graveyard had said things like, “It is a nice tradition” or “I really like the walk and the camaraderie”. From my own personal experience I have done the walk to the graveyard and back to the Colket Center for good times. It really is amazing how the college community comes together to celebrate a man who no one really knew.

Roanoke College PR department contributed to this article