Traditions – New and Old – Bond Alumni, Students at Homecoming

Monday, October 02, 2017
Rose-Hulman students carrying railroad ties to build a massive homecoming bonfire.

Building Blocks: Students are continuing a time-honored tradition of building the Homecoming bonfire – with hundreds of wooden materials meticulously designed, topped by an outhouse – to help inspire the football team to a victory during Saturday’s game.

This weekend’s Homecoming on campus will be a time for recollection, reflection and connection for students – past and present.

Events will have members of the Class of 1967 celebrating their 50-year reunion with a special memorial presentation, former football players recalling their past gridiron glory in a celebration of the program’s 125th anniversary and students continuing the tradition of constructing the bonfire that hopes to inspire this year’s team to victory.

Legendary alumnus, educator and administrator Herman A. Moench will be honored as his bronze bust is added to the institute’s oldest academic building, which already bears his name, Moench Hall.

“This is a gift from our class,” Class of 1967 alumnus Chuck Webb says. “Herman meant a lot to us.”

Classmate Bill Holmes, who sculpts as a hobby, created the bust, breaking one of the cardinal rules of his artwork: You’re never supposed to show a subject’s teeth in a sculpture. However, Moench’s gap-toothed smile was too much a part of the man to ignore.

“He always had a smile for everyone,” Holmes remarks. “That’s how I depicted him.”

Moench, a 1929 electrical engineering Rose Polytechnic Institute graduate, had a remarkable 60-year tenure on campus in his hometown: professor, department head, dean of faculty, acting president (twice) and, finally, senior vice president.

“To Herman, teaching was the most important thing,” says 1974 physics alumnus Richard Ditteon, the current Herman A. Moench Distinguished Professor among the faculty. He is the last active faculty member to have had Moench as a professor.

Moench’s bust will be dedicated in a special ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the southeast corner of Root Quadrangle, in the middle of campus.

Then, former football players will be guests at special events near Cook Stadium and Phil Brown Field in a celebration of Rose-Hulman’s 125th football season. The current Fightin’ Engineers will play the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio), starting at 2 p.m.

The Homecoming festivities began late last week when students continued the time-honored tradition of building a massive bonfire, which will be set ablaze, along with a spectacular fireworks display, after Friday night’s pep rally and crowning of this year’s Homecoming Queen.

Here is a list of the major Homecoming events taking place this weekend:


Alumni Golf Outings, Hulman Links & Country Club of Terre Haute Courses, 9 a.m.

Welcome and Hospitality Area Open, Alumni Center, Hatfield Hall, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

1874 Heritage Society Luncheon (by invitation only), Lake Room, Hulman Student Union, Noon

Oakley Observatory Stargazing, East of Campus, Off Hunt Road, 8 p.m.

Pep Rally and Queen Coronation, Hulbert Arena, Sports and Recreation Center, 8:30 p.m.

Bonfire and Fireworks, Intramural Field, East of Campus, After Pep Rally

Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Party, Copper Bar, Downtown Terre Haute, 9:30 p.m.


Rosie’s 5k Fun Run/Walk, Bill Welch Track, Cook Stadium, 9 a.m.

Herman Moench Bust Dedication, Root Quadrangle, 9:30 a.m.

Welcome and Hospitality Area Open, Alumni Center, Hatfield Hall, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Logan Library Open House, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

125th Anniversary Football Reunion Reception, Balcony, Sports and Recreation Center, 11 a.m.

Academic Department/Branam Innovation Center Open Houses, Throughout Campus, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tent City, Parking Lot, Near Cook Stadium, Noon

Football Game, vs. College of Mount St. Joseph, Cook Stadium, 2 p.m.

Rose-Hulman Ventures Open House, South Campus, 4-6 p.m.

50 Plus Golden Gala Reception and Dinner, Hulman Student Union, 5 p.m.


RoseWoods Couples Brunch, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Launch Root Quad