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Flash Back Friday: History of President’s Ball

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By Erin Keating

As Roanoke gears up for its ninth annual President’s Ball, Flash Back Friday is going to take a look at the history of the event. The first President’s Ball was held in 2007 as the final party to end a week-long celebration of President Maxey’s inauguration. In previous interviews, President Maxey has said the first President’s Ball went so well that they decided to make it an annual event. What was supposed to be a one-time event turned into a Roanoke College tradition.

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President’s Ball has featured a variety of themes during the last decade. Themes in past years have included New Orleans in 2014, the 1920s (Great Gatsby) in 2013, Black and White Ball in 2011, and a masked ball in 2009. Despite the different themes, the ball has always had a similar style, where all three floors of the Colket Center are decorated to their finest, with each floor representing a different aspect of the theme. Live music in the top two floors – sometimes a jazz band, sometimes dueling pianos – and a live DJ in Cavern are annual fixtures at the ball. Some President’s Balls have adopted a competitive atmosphere as well. The fourth President’s Ball had a class competition to get as many students as possible to attend, while the masked ball in 2009 included a mask competition.

It is amazing to think that a celebration we all value as tradition was started less than a decade ago. Because everyone at Roanoke has always had a President’s Ball, it can be easy to forget that every tradition has to start somewhere. As we get ready to celebrate “Around the World: The Ninth Annual Roanoke College President’s Ball”, let’s remember the spirit in which President Maxey created the ball, as a chance for students, staff, faculty, and friends to experience the Roanoke community together in a night of great food, music, and fashion.