Traditions headline College’s annual Founder’s Day

by rcnewsblog on November 14, 2013

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Roanoke College’s first president, David Bittle, is a significant figure in the College’s history.

Last year, 75 to 100 people marched to his Salem grave to celebrate his November birthday, which the College refers to as Founder’s Day. Bittle would be 202 years old this year, and Roanoke will mark the occasion with its annual Founder’s Day celebration on Nov. 19.

Since 1993, faculty, staff and students have celebrated Bittle’s birthday with a bonfire on Roanoke’s back quad, horse-drawn carriage rides and a torch-lit parade to the East Hill Cemetery in Salem.

Three of Roanoke’s first four presidents including Bittle, also are buried at this cemetery.  The History Department faculty will be dressed in robes as they march to the cemetery.

After the cemetery march, the evening will end with a birthday celebration in the Colket Center, with music by a DJ, Karaoke, food, and beer for anyone 21 and over.

The celebration will feature “music fast and loud just the way Bittle liked it,” said Dr. Mark Miller, a History professor at Roanoke.

Founders Day schedule of events:

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – David Bittle birthday cake will be served in the Commons for dessert

6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Roanoke College trivia contest in the Commons

7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. -Bonfire on the back quad, with horse drawn carriage rides

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Torch-lit parade to Bittle’s grave at East Hill Cemetery on Main Street

8:30 p.m. -11p.m. -Bittle’s Bash in the Colket Center

-By Shelby Sacco ’14

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