The long and rich history of Lawrence University has produced a variety of traditions that infuse campus life and events throughout the year.

Whether time-honored traditions like class colors and The Rock, or newer events like LUaroo, you'll find Lawrence traditions connect you with your classmates and alumni community long after you've graduated.

Campus Traditions

The Rock 

The two-ton granite boulder next to Main Hall is back in its rightful place after having gone missing for 20 years. The Rock was brought to campus 124 years ago by the Class of 1895 after students found it on a geology trip in New London, Wisconsin. It made its debut next to Main Hall a short time later. The Rock has been painted countless times for all kinds of causes. It’s been the subject of pranks and fraternity feuds, where it has been guarded and dragged across campus, and, yes, stolen. But mostly painted. Stop by Main Hall to see what it looks like today or learn about the history of The Rock from this student-produced podcast.

Class Colors 

Red, yellow, green, and purple: the class colors originate from a Milwaukee-Downer College tradition. Class colors at Milwaukee-Downer were given to each class to provide them with a sense of unity; a tradition Lawrence would eventually embrace. The first colors at Lawrence were assigned in 1988, 24 years after the 1964 merger. It is cherished to this day. Each new class inherits the color of the newly graduated class, presented during Welcome Week in Memorial Chapel. Every new first-year class holds the flag in the class photo at the beginning of the year. 

Weekends at Björklunden 

Going to Björklunden for a weekend during a rigorous term of studying is a breath of fresh air all Lawrentians enjoy. Located in Door County, on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Björklunden is a 441-acre estate with a Swedish-inspired lodge long popular among alumni and students. Whether it’s classes, clubs, organizations, or residence halls making the trip, it’s always both a learning and relaxing experience.  

The Honor Code 

On each paper or project a Lawrentian submits, you can see “IHRTLUHC” adorning the cover, which stands for “I hereby reaffirm the Lawrence University Honor Code.” Upon their arrival to campus, each student commits themselves to the Honor Code: “No Lawrence student will unfairly advance their own academic performance or in any way limit or impede the academic pursuits of other students of the Lawrence community.” This code binds Lawrentians together academically and prompts social responsibility in all aspects of life. At the beginning of their freshman year, every student is required to sign the Honor Code, which ties them to the Lawrence community through a fundamental social promise that shows they not only take their own development seriously but also the development of their peers.   

The Viking Room 

Founded in 1969 as a bar, the Viking Room (fondly referred to as the VR) is one of the campus’ eclectic, prime hang-out spots for students ages 21+. Located in the basement of Memorial Hall, the VR is managed, tended, and stocked by students who are looking for a fun service experience on campus. Prior to becoming a bar in 1969, the VR served as a popular lounge on campus for many years. It has carved out a rich history—literally. Just look for yourself! Climb into the booths or sit at the wooden tables and you can see the surfaces are covered in scratched signatures and carvings from students throughout Lawrence’s history.  

Convocations 

As a community of life-long learners, it’s important for Lawrentians to take time each term to gather and consider new ideas. Three Convocations are scheduled each year, beginning with the Matriculation Convocation, at which the president speaks; and ending with an Honors Convocation, at which the academic and extracurricular achievements of students are given special recognition. The faculty Convocations and Commencement Committee invites individuals of high accomplishment and profound insight to address members of the college and Fox Valley communities on topics of broad interest. Convocations are held on Fridays at 12:30 p.m., a permanently reserved time. Check out this year's Convocation schedule.

Ormsby Lake 

More like Ormsby Ice Rink during the winter. This classic nod to winter is a hot spot for fun on Ormsby Green during January and February. From skating and broomball to frolicking with friends, students come to the “lake” to get a break from studying during the dark days of Winter Term. 

Campus Events

The Great Midwest Trivia Contest 

Established in 1966, this tradition is fully student run, but teams from around the world participate annually. Broadcast online from Lawrence’s WLFM radio station in the Music-Drama Center, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest is a weekend-long event that is not for the weak of heart. Running around the clock and overseen by a team of dedicated trivia masters, it’s an annual frenzy of bizarre and off-the-beaten-path trivia. It remains a great connector with Lawrence alumni who return to the game year after year. Sleep is optional. 

Winter Carnival & President’s Ball 

Winter Carnival is a spark of warm joy in the cold of Winter Term here at Lawrence. Activities for the carnival vary year to year, from ice sculpting to building gingerbread houses to playing grocery BINGO. One of the most exciting events of the year comes at the end of Winter Carnival, when President’s Ball is held. It’s a night of dancing to a live jazz band and eating chocolate fondue. President’s Ball takes the cake because all students and faculty get dressed to the nines in formal wear. Students say it’s the best night of Winter Term. 

Cultural Expressions 

This showcase of on-campus performance talent, ranging from music to dance to spoken-word, has become a tradition over the past half dozen years, a conclusion to the annual People of Color Empowerment Week during Black History Month. In the past, the Excellence Ball was added at the front end of the week, providing bookends to a week of films, art, and speakers on issues of equity, opportunity, and inclusion. 

Cabaret 

Lawrence’s international students come together each year to put on a variety show featuring music, dance, and fashion from around the world. Performed in Stansbury Theatre, the Cabaret show is different every year, with a changing theme to guide the “plot” of the show. This truly is a must-see event.  

LU Zoo Days 

Organized by our student events organization (SOUP) during Spring Term when the weather starts to warm, Lawrentians from all over campus congregate on Ormsby Green to play games, listen to music, and enjoy an afternoon of fun in the sun. The best part about Zoo Days is that all the money raised by student clubs and organizations goes toward nonprofit causes. 

LUaroo 

Lawrentians look forward to Memorial Day weekend. Why? Because LUaroo, the much-anticipated, weekend-long mini music festival on the quad, is the highlight of all the annual events at Lawrence. Coming to enjoy artists from around the Midwest—and even bands from our own Conservatory of Music—students lay out on the quad or dance with friends from morning until night. It’s a great stress-breaker right before Spring Term finals.  

Alumni Reunions 

Originally held during Commencement week, Reunions in various forms have been occurring at Lawrence annually since 1876. In recent years, approximately 1,000 people, including Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer alumni, return to campus each summer from near and far to celebrate their college experiences and each other’s distinguished achievements. Learn more about Reunions. 

LU Traditions Features & Highlights

Many students onstage in their ethnic clothing with various country flags hanging down.
Event

Cabaret is an annual international variety show featuring music, dance, and fashion from around the world.

Life at Lawrence

Björklunden in Winter

Experience Björklunden in winter! Our estate on the banks of Lake Michigan in Door County is a cozy place to dig deeper into your studies or bond with your team.