A Cherished Tradition
Oglethorpe Day honors our university’s namesake, James Edward Oglethorpe. Held in February, Oglethorpe Day commemorates the anniversary of General Oglethorpe’s arrival in the new world in Savannah, Ga.
Each year the festivities begin with the exciting Petrels of Fire race. Modeled after a race in the movie Chariots of Fire, a select group of Oglethorpe students runners circle the quad in hopes of making a full lap before the carillon bells’ twelfth and final chime. This amazing feat has only been accomplished one time!
Then the crowd, traditionally led by a bagpiper, processes to the Conant Performing Arts Center to hear from a special guest speaker. The festivities close with a tasty treat on the Conant Veranda.
Oglethorpe Day schedule of events:
12:45 – Enjoy refreshments on the quad
1:00 – Petrels of Fire race (begins at 1:00 sharp!)
1:05 – Process to the Conant Performing Arts Center
1:15 – Hear from a guest speaker in Conant
2:15 – Have a special treat on the Conant veranda
2:30 – Classes resume
Watch students race in the Petrels of Fire!
One of Oglethorpe’s most cherished traditions, the Petrels of Fire race was held on April 2, 2014. Traditionally held on Oglethorpe Day (February 12) it was rescheduled this year due to inclement weather. Runners try to race around the quad before the last of the carillon bells’ twelve chimes at noon.
Past Oglethorpe Day Celebrations:
Derreck Kayongo, CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and founder of the Global Soap Project, was the featured guest speaker for 2017. In 2016, Kayongo was the Oglethorpe commencement speaker and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.See our coverage of this event!
This year’s theme, “A Dialogue on Race,” included conversation with a panel of Atlanta leaders moderated by President Schall and Dr. Kendra King Momon, Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Rich Foundation Urban Leadership Program.
- Doug Shipman, Founding Chief Executive Officer for the National Center of Civil and Human Rights.
- Robert Franklin, former President of Morehouse College, Director of the religion program at the Chautauqua Institute, and former program officer at the Ford Foundation Program for Human Rights and Social Justice.
- Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College and author of the book “Can We talk About Race? And Other Conversations in the Era of School Re-Segregation.”
- Lisa Borders, Vice President of Global Community Connections at The Coca-Cola Company and Chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation, former President, Atlanta City Council.
Afterwards, student leaders had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Blank in a private setting.
The parade led to the Conant Performing Arts Center for a presentation on “What Happens in Cuba Doesn’t Stay in Cuba,” given by faculty and students who traveled to Cuba over winter break as part of a semester-long study of the historic, economic, political and cultural facets of the country.