Most Colleges have one or two traditions
eureka is rich with tradtion
Eureka is a college rich in tradition. When you pass along a glowing torch at the annual homecoming Torchlight Parade or experience the fun of finding the rum cake our senior class hides every year, you'll feel like a link in the long chain of Eureka history - and that's because you are!
Of all of our tradtions, one is perhaps most meaningful. The Ivy Ceremony.
THE IVY CEREMONY
The Ivy Ceremony has, for many years, been a part of Eureka College Commencement Exercises. The tradition is traced back to 1925 and holds very special meaning to thousands of graduates who have matriculated from Eureka's hallowed halls. Ivy is representative of the characteristics that represent the character of Eureka's Community: strength, flexibility, and tenacity. Faculty and staff endeavor to instill these qualities in our students.
Each year, at Opening Convocation, new students are given a sprig of ivy. Each student then places the ivy sprig into a collective basket symbolizing formal membership in the Eureka College community and a joining together to form this community. The ivy then symbolically grows together to form a single continuous vine as one becomes a full member of the EC family. This common bond is represented at Commencement in the form of an ivy chain.
The circle of ivy represents the strong bond that binds our graduates and our community together. Although the cutting of the ivy results in separation, it also reminds us of ivy's ability to take root elsewhere. It is our hope that our graduates will take with them these ivy springs and all they symbolize and spread the knowledge thy have learned and the relationships and love they have experienced "neath the elms.
"NEATH THE ELM"
The Recruiting Elm is an actual elm tree that was located on the Eureka College campus and has become famous for its historic significance. It was under this particular elm tree in April of 1861 that Eureka students and faculty gathered to volunteer to fight in the Civil War. A total of 29 Eureka students and faculty joined Company G of the 173rd Infantry of Illinois that day. The recruits elected Asa Burgess as their captain. The Recruiting Elm itself has long fallen - however, as long as it stood, and as long as it remains in our memories -it represents those student's and faculty's selfless act and sacrifice for a larger cause. Their act resonates on the campus still. Eureka students and faculty of today are proud to walk "neath the elm" and its historic memory.
Homecoming is one of the most beloved traditions at Eureka. Each year the theme may change, but the skits, chants, bonfires, window displays, parades, and games in competition for the “Old Elm” still remain.
A highlight of homecoming is the Torchlight Parade. Participating students, staff, and faculty ignite large torches and walk a night-time parade route through the college culminating in a large bonfire and pep rally raising spirits high for the game and festivities to come.
SENIOR RUM CAKE
Beginning around 1918, the senior class buried a fruit cake somewhere on campus for the juniors to find. If the juniors failed to unearth the cake, they threw the seniors a party, and if they succeeded in finding the cake, the seniors threw them a party. More recently at the college, the fruit cake has been replaced by a rum cake.
A EUREKA COLLEGE LEGEND - LIDA OF LIDA'S WOOD
There is rumor of a protective "spirit" on the Eureka campus. Years ago, a tall tale was told of the spirit of Lida who watched over a particular woman's domitory on campus. The dorm, Lida's Wood, was named in her honor when her parents donated land and former family home to the campus for expansion. Tragically a fire destroyed the dormitory. Fortunately, the dorm was rebuilt, and from that point on, Lida's ghost was determined that the new Lida's Wood would not burn again. Women students would report that they would leave their irons or curling irons plugged in and return to find they had been unplugged, clear evidence that Lida's ghost was protecting the building named for her. Although Lida's Wood was demolished years ago, many say that Lida's presence remains on campus kindly guarding Eureka students.
SINGING OF THE ALMA MATER
Current Eureka College students and alumni have a special song which they carry with them wherever they go. With very little prompting they may be enticed to sing the beloved tune for you. If you don't have a student or an alum nearby:
A long held tradition
Equality for all
THE ALMA MATER
'Neath the Elms upon the campus
Lift the chorus, speed it onward
When we leave thy halls forever never to return