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Steeped in traditions

Homecoming Bonfire

When you walk on campus you'll immediately feel a sense of history. Rose-Hulman has been around since 1874 and some of the time-honored traditions still experienced on campus were started during our very beginnings. Here are a few that are okay to share with your parents.

Freshman orientation
As you finish your Freshman orientation you'll be excited, maybe a little nervous, but certainly well-prepared to start your career at Rose-Hulman. As you leave your final presentation you'll be greeted by our Residence Life Staff lining the sidewalks and applauding the start of your college life. Here's the really cool part - four years later you'll meet in this same location to start your parade to commencement. This time you'll be led by bagpipes and walk through a line of faculty and staff applauding the start of your post-college life. It will send chills down your back and maybe even tears to your eyes.

Homecoming bonfire
Perhaps Rose-Hulman's most famous tradition is the annual bonfire that occurs the night before the homecoming football game. Rumor has it that air traffic is diverted because of the flames. We're not sure that's true but it certainly gives off some heat.

The Freshman class is responsible for creating the bonfire, including an old wooden outhouse on top, and then guarding their creation from any upperclassman looking to tear it down. Once darkness falls you'll see some amazing ways to light the flame - from flaming arrows to trebuchets (go ahead, YouTube it… you'll be impressed by our students' ingenuity). And then thousands of people gather round cheer for the outhouse. If the outhouse collapses into the fire, tradition states that our Fightin' Engineers will win.

Who is Rosie anyway?
The symbol of our school and the Fighting Engineers is Rosie, the elephant. From 1900 until the 1990s, she was a plaster and chicken wire creation that could be wheeled around the track during football games. Now she is brought to life by a costumed student, greeting and creating fun at many athletic events.

School Song: Dear Old Rose
Dear Old Rose
The sweetest flower that grows
Here's to your colors rose and white
Here's to the ones who've kept them bright.
Colors true for those who honor you
Here's to everything you've done,
Here's to every fight you've won.
Dear Old Rose.