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Senior Week became a DePauw institution in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It consisted of a series of chapel programs, the first of which was "coming out" day for seniors, who wore caps and gowns for the first time, after securing them against theft by underclassmen. The president or a favorite professor addressed the assembled student body in Meharry Hall, the juniors and sophomores occupying their assigned places behind the black-garbed seniors on the main floor. Men and women were still separated on either side of the room, and freshmen sat in the balcony, the normal practice in daily chapel.

Chemistry laboratory in Minshall Hall.


One or two days were given to recognition chapel, when awards for athletic and scholastic excellence were presented and elections to senior honoraries announced. The Old Gold Gown was passed down from the senior woman holding it to the junior woman chosen for that honor. Senior men of Blue Key-later Gold Key-solemnly tapped new initiates from the junior class with the cane that served as their badge of office. The climax came with the presentation of the Walker Cup, given to the university in 1926 by alumnus Guy Morrison Walker and originally awarded at Commencement time, to the senior deemed to have contributed the most to DePauw. This high honor, the recipients of which were chosen jointly by vote of the senior class, and the faculty, went only to males until 1941.





But for many the high point of Senior Week was the mock chapel which took place on Friday morning. With the entire faculty occupying the front rows of Meharry Hall, members of the senior class appeared on stage performing skits intended to caricature certain prominent administrators and professors. The more successful performances evoked howls of appreciative laughter from the students and a few smiles and an occasional frown from the subjects of the skits. On one occasion President Oxnam and some of the most often-caricatured members of the faculty retaliated by staging their own parody of the annual May Day festivities. Decked out in flowing gowns and garlanded with flowers, they marched into chapel impersonating the May Queen and her court before the astonished but delighted student body.

Group singing had a large part in campus life. Each fraternity and sorority had its own songs, sung almost nightly at the dinner hour and on special occasions. Many of these were collected in a volume published by two alumni, Raymond E. Smith and Wade Hollinghead, under the title University, Fraternity and Sorority Songs of "Old DePauw." This collection also contained alumna Vivien Bard's "A Toast to Old DePauw," which soon became the official university anthem, sung at Commencement, Old Gold Day, and Alumni Day and on other ceremonial occasions. Each spring the Greek letter organizations competed for prizes in the interfraternity and intersorority sings. A frequent campus happening was the fraternity serenade, when men from one chapter house would gather in front of a women's residence after closing hours to entertain the occupants with song, sometimes arriving with a piano installed in the bed of a truck for accompaniment. A chief excuse for such an event was one of the brothers bestowing his fraternity pin upon a coed as a token of his affection, an action that often led to eventual marriage. Professor Oliver W. Robinson, himself a graduate of DePauw in 1933, has described the custom in one of the stories of fictionalized fraternity life published in his nostalgic collection, The Pillared Porch Stands Tall:

Even the pin serenade was a flop.... All of us Alpha Yoops stood under the dormitory windows in the snow and the moonlight singing our fraternity sweetheart song. Then Peter crooned
I Love You Truly for Harry. Elaine sang her own reply, and the dormitory girls stationed at various strategic windows tittered throughout. It was almost more than the dignity of Alpha Sigma Upsilon could endure.

The newly remodeled Speech Hall furnished spacious facilities for all kinds of theatrical productions. It was dedicated on Old Gold Day in 1929 with a performance of "The Goose Hangs High" by Lewis Beach. The following February, the Association of Women Students sponsored the first Monon Revue, called the "Moan-on Revue." This musical entertainment, written and directed by students, was performed annually for several years. Other student-organized events that flourished in this period were the annual Gridiron Dinner put on by the journalistic fraternity Sign Delta Chi, and Matrix Table, sponsored by its counterpart for women, Theta Sigma Phi. These were chiefly occasions for "roasting" or "razzing" prominent members of the student body. Gridiron also awarded a serious honor, the leather medal, for the person making the greatest contribution to the university. Theta Sigma Chi usually invited a leading woman journalist to address Matrix Table and receive recognition for her achievements.

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