100 years later, events from the first St. Pat’s celebration in Rolla will

Posted by
On March 2, 2008

This St. Patrick’s Day, organizers of
festivities in Rolla will stage a re-enactment of the town’s first ever St.
Pat’s celebration, which occurred on the campus of Missouri University of
Science and Technology 100 years

A march to campus will commence following the
100th St. Pat’s Parade in Rolla, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, on
Pine Street. The re-enactment of the 1908 events begins at 2 p.m. at Norwood

In 1908, a student request for a day off to
celebrate St. Patrick’s Day was denied. When the students decided to skip
classes anyway, faculty members complained to the popular lead administrator
Lew Young. The students left their party at a railroad depot and decided to
march back to Norwood Hall. Draped in a green robe, one of the students, George
Menefee, was serving as St. Pat – the student-anointed patron saint of
engineers. Menefee asked Young to bow and receive a

“I dub you the first Honorary Knight of St.
Patrick of Rolla,” Menefee is said to have told the faculty

This relieved the tension between faculty
members and students, and the celebration was allowed to

Dr. Lance Haynes, a professor of speech and
media studies at Missouri S&T and an amateur historian, has pieced together
the events of 100 years ago through research and speculation.

“Maybe the engineering faculty forgave the
students because they thought it was funny that St. Pat was the patron saint of
engineers,” Haynes says. “Or maybe Lew and George colluded and planned the
whole thing. We’ll probably never know the whole

We do know that, since 1908, the St. Pat’s
legend in Rolla has been growing. St. Pat and his court still make their
official entrances during the week of the parade near the railroad tracks. And,
100 years after Young bowed before Menefee, the campus still names honorary
knights on an annual

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt recently recognized
St. Pat as the patron saint of engineers when he invited a group of Missouri
S&T students to Jefferson City for a proclamation

The schedule of events for the 100th annual
St. Pat’s celebration at Missouri S&T is as

– March 3-5: Snake Invasion, students
club “snakes” with big sticks called

– Monday, March 10 (noon): St. Pat’s
at the Hockey Puck, a campus landmark that is located on the mall
near the front of the Mechanical Engineering Building/Toomey

– Tuesday, March 11 (noon): St. Pat’s
at the Hockey

– Wednesday, March 12: St. Pat,
portrayed by a Missouri S&T student, and his court, ceremoniously garbed in
green and gold, will officially arrive in downtown Rolla at 11:30 a.m. near
Pine and Sixth streets. They will be accompanied by the Rolla High School
Dixieland Jazz Band and the Rolla Ambassadors, who will urge everyone on Pine
Street to follow them to the pavilion on the corner of Ninth and Oak streets.
Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks and Missouri S&T Chancellor John F. Carney III will
meet the court at the pavilion at noon. A 21-cannon salute will be sounded from
the Missouri S&T athletic fields to signal the

– Thursday, March 13: Gonzo Games, 11
a.m. to 5 p.m.at the Student Recreation Center on

– Friday, March 14: More St. Pat’s
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center; Coronation
– featuring St. Pat and his court, the Queen of Love and Beauty
and her court, and the Honorary Knights of St. Patrick – at 9 p.m. in Leach
Theatre of Missouri S&T’s Castleman

– Saturday, March 15: Pine Street turns
, 7 a.m.; St. Pat’s Parade, 11 a.m.; Grateful Board
all day at the downtown pavilion; March to Norwood Hall on
campus at 2 p.m. for a re-enactment of the first St. Pat’s celebration 100
years ago; St. Pat’s concert featuring the band 311, 6 p.m. at
the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building, 10th Street and Bishop Avenue, Rolla;
St. Patrick’s Grand Ball, 6 p.m. in the St. Pat’s Ballroom of the
Havener Center on campus.

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On March 2, 2008. Posted in Events