Stephens College 1833-2003
Historic Buildings :: Stephens Traditions
Firestone Baars Chapel
The Firestone Baars Chapel was designed by world-famous Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. The chapel symbolizes commitment to individual spiritual development and worship. The chapel is used for meditation, religious services, vespers, weddings, memorials and campus programs.
Historic Senior Hall
Historic Senior Hall dates back to 1841, when Oliver Parker bought the eight-acre tract of land on which the College was first located. In 1857, the Columbia Baptist Female College, which later became Stephens College, acquired the building. Until 1918, Historic Senior Hall was the only dormitory at the College. It was the tradition for the President of the Civic Association (now the Student Government Association) to occupy the first floor room just north of the Waugh Street entrance. Many generations of students feel this building is their tie to the past. A complete restoration of Historic Senior Hall began in the spring of 1987, and the building was rededicated in the spring of 1990.
Campus traditions at Stephens provide a bond between past and present students. Some traditions have changed to fit changing times, some traditions are very old, and some annual events may be traditions-in-the-making.
At Alumnae Reunion, the President of the Alumnae Association passes a lit candle to a representative of the Senior Class symbolizing the passage from undergraduate years to alumnae responsibilities.
Since 1976, each senior passes a secret gift to the President when she shakes hands and receives her degree.
Door Slam is a special time signaling the beginning of “dead week” and 24-hour quiet hours during final exams.
Many other annual campus events are traditions in-the-making:
Harbinger Night, President’s Leadership
Seminar, Roblee Lecture Series, fashion show, Prince of Wales Club
horse show, senior art show, spring dance concert, RA appreciation
day, residence hall un-birthday parties, Black History Month, the
roommate game and many more.
Ghost of Senior Hall
The Ghost of Senior Hall is a Civil War tale of a wounded soldier nursed back to health by a student in Senior Hall. Legend says that every Halloween their ghosts return to the hall to mourn their unrequited love.
Honors Convocation, held each spring, provides an opportunity to honor excellence in many ways. Traditional awards given include: excellence in teaching and advising, Trustees Awards including the Senior Capstone Award, announcement of Mortar Board members, Century Candle Award, Alpha Lambda Delta Book Award, departmental honors and scholarships, Outstanding Resident Assistant and Resident Director, Ten Ideals and others.
“Stephens, our Stephens, hail to thee.
We’ll praise thy name through all eternity.
Thy ten ideals will live so you can see that
Dear, dear old Stephens, we hail to thee.”
"Treasuring memories ever dear,
Singing your praise for everyone to hear,
Living Ideals for all the world to see
that dear, dear old Stephens, we hail to thee!"
Maroon and gold.
Stop Day began on April Fool’s Day in 1913 when a group of students played hooky and went swimming at Rollins Spring. President Wood heard of their deed and joined them with a picnic hamper declaring a day of spring play. Faculty extended the stop day idea by declaring a “reading day” on which no classes meet so that students may prepare for final exams.
The Ten Ideals were developed in the 1930s as a guide for student values. Several residence halls continue to select residents who represent these ideals.
In 1983, while planning for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Stephens College, students felt it important to review and update the historic Ten Ideals. To serve as an inspiration for the women of today, the Student Government Association then created and adopted the following Sesquicentennial Ideals.
We seek to transform the world by transforming our values. We hold to these values:
Respect for our own dignity and for the dignity of others, embodied in a sense of social justice
Courage and persistence
Independence, autonomy and self-sufficiency
Support for others through the willingness to take and give criticism, acceptance and love
Sensitivity to the uniqueness and fragility of the natural world of which we are a part
Responsibility for the consequences of our choices
Belief in our changing selves and in our right to change
Creativity in the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of life
Intelligence that is informed and cultivated, critical yet tolerant
Leadership which empowers others
In 1993, a group of 10 senior students came together to re-establish the concept of the Ten Ideals within the Stephens community. Each ideal is a description of desirable forms of thinking, feeling and acting. The tradition will live on in these women.
A white towel placed on a doorknob in the residence hall is a signal that no one is to enter except in emergencies—a sure way to study.
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