Monday, April 22, 2013

Traditions That Endure Even Until Today

There are several enduring national and local traditions that began while we were at Vanderbilt.

One is Earth Day, observed for the first time 43 years ago today on April 22, 1970, the spring of our freshman year.

I don't have a specific memory of a Vanderbilt event on that first Earth Day. Do you? If so, leave a message below to share here on the blog.

Here's what Walter Crockite had to say in his wrap-up commentary at the end of a CBS News special covering the events and demonstrations of that first Earth Day. It's amazing how his comments are still the subject of debate even now...

One local tradition that also began while we were on campus and that continues right up until this past weekend is Rites of Spring. The annual music festival with its performance stage on Alumni Lawn was first held in April, 1971. That 42 years and going strong. It appears however, at least the first year, there were also special displays on Rand Terrace that were part of the Rites of Spring activities as reported in our 1973 COMMODORE Yearbook.

Photo courtesy of THE TENNESSEAN
Miguel and Dru DeCaro perform Friday, April 18, 2013 at Vanderbilt's Rites of Spring

I could only find a roster of past performers that dated back to 1986.  On that list were some real stars (and those are just the ones I recognize). Those include: Bo Diddley (1990), Crosby and Nash (1993), Smashing Pumpkins (1994), Dave Mathews Band (1995), George Clinton (1997), Third Eye Blind (1998), Black Eyed Peas (2002), Hootie & the Blowfish (2005), and Lady Antebellum (2008).

So as we prepare to return to campus this fall for our 40th Class reunion, some things change and some traditions that began when we were on campus endure well into their fourth decade.

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