Article Written By Paige Stewart
Photo Courtesy of WorldArtsMe
On Nov. 16, the Roanoke College Historical Society teamed up with faculty from the history department to throw an annual birthday party for the late founder, David Bittle. The event, fondly called “Bittle’s Birthday Bash,” was advertised to students on the weekly calendar as well as on the college Snapchat story.
To celebrate the birthday of Bittle, one of the leading founders of the college, students across all departments dressed up as historical figures. Students wearing long, swooping skirts, bonnets, and tailcoats were seen traipsing across campus to class. Some even opted for the elevators rather than trekking across campus in their heavy attire.
At 7:00 pm, students gathered on the back quad for a bonfire. Many were still donned in their costumes, recreating the image of a historical event. Faculty and friends chatted for half an hour, and then everyone sang the Alma Mater. To close the scene, a horse-drawn carriage arrived to deliver President and Mrs. Maxey to the next destination: The East Hill Cemetery.
The group congregated on High Street to begin the procession to the cemetery. The route was closed off, and the parade was escorted by the police. The group marched down the street and up to the top of the hill to reach Bittle’s grave.
Once there, everyone congregated around the gravestone, and a large wreath was placed on it. Dr. Miller praised the group as “the cream of the crop” for coming out to the ceremony. He proceeded to describe the efforts put forth by the founders to build the college.
After the ceremony, the group walked back the Bank building to celebrate with a party in the Logan Gallery. There were snacks, tables for conversing with friends, and karaoke. The karaoke portion was especially popular because both students and faculty got involved.
“I liked it because it was different than people just dancing. It is like the only karaoke event we do and the school looks forward to it every year. Whether you get up and sing or not, everyone has a good time,” said sophomore Julia Ricciardi.
Next year will be Roanoke College’s 175th anniversary as well as the 25th anniversary of the Founder’s Day celebration. Students interested in joining in next year’s festivities have a lot to look forward to. The Brackety-Ack wishes founder Bittle a happy birthday!