Every college, no matter how small, has campus traditions that endear it to alumni. UNC-Wilmington is a very young institution—founded as a night school for veterans returning from World War II—and its current rapidly growing campus is younger still, with its oldest buildings, Hoggard Hall, Alderman Hall, and Hinton James Hall, dating from 1961. So, UNC-W is still in the process of formulating traditions, except for academic excellence, of course, which is already established. (There has been a persistent rumor for years that Kenan Auditorium is haunted, although I’ve never heard it specified: by whom.)
I’ve taken some continuing education courses at UNC-W, so I can claim at least a tad of alumni-hood. But my real alma mater is UNC-Chapel Hill. Since it’s the nation’s oldest State University, it’s rife with tradition—like the reverence surrounding the Old Well, the Victory Bell (which goes to the winner of the Duke-Carolina football game), and, of course, Silent Sam, the statue of a Minuteman holding a rifle, which is supposed to fire if a chaste young lady walks by. It has never fired.
Now, another Chapel Hill tradition is being scuttled. Students will no longer have to dive into one of the pools, swim 50 yards, and then stay afloat for the remainder of a 5-minute period to qualify for a “swim card.” In some classes you might be able to skate by, but this test was the only one on campus where you literally had to sink or swim.