Rose Sunday first of Judsonís 175th anniversary eventscomment (0)
September 19, 2013
To commemorate its milestone 175th anniversary year, Judson College in Marion kicked off a yearlong celebration Aug. 25 with Rose Sunday, a Founder’s Day celebration of students, alumnae and friends of the college.
Rose Sunday was first observed Sept. 19, 1915, but can be traced back to when the founder and first president Milo P. Jewett “encouraged” the student body to join him as he walked the two blocks to Siloam Baptist Church to worship each Sunday. Jewett would rap his cane on the stair railing in the students’ dormitory to announce he was about to make this journey.
Rose Sunday preparations began Aug. 24 as the students gathered to weave ivy into a chain symbolizing the sisterhood among the group. Later in the day, more than 400 Marion Military Institute (MMI) cadets marched in full uniform approximately half a mile to observe a step-sing performance by Judson students who sing iconic Judson songs. The two student bodies then enjoyed a joint picnic and ice cream social. An MMI administrator joked to Judson College President David Potts that MMI and Judson had been “going steady” for more than 100 years now.
On Aug. 25, the underclassmen lined the walkway and held the woven ivy chain in honor of the senior class. The seniors, dressed in their academic regalia and donning the college’s signature flower, the red rose, began the procession joined by faculty, staff and alumnae. In years past, students were required to wear white gloves to this event. While the gloves are no longer required, many continue the tradition and also wear hats.
In honor of these customs, a display of hats and gloves has been set up in the window of a downtown storefront.
The celebration has also encompassed a celebration of the founders of the college. As is his custom, Potts shared some of the history of the school. This year, he focused on the role of the founders of the college. The great-great-great-grandsons of founder Gen. Edwin D. King were in attendance along with members of their family. Siloam Pastor John Nicholson brought words of welcome from the home church and was joined by special guest speaker Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Lance’s message called on the Judson community to notice those in need and help them in any way they can rather than simply pass them by.
The King family was among the honored guests at a luncheon following the Rose Sunday service and participated in a ceremony in the cemetery adjacent to the college where their ancestor is buried.