As is the case with many families, traditions are endearing and everlasting. A total of 362 new students are now officially members of the Heidelberg family.
Thursday’s Opening Convocation was steeped in Heidelberg traditions, handed down from class to class and generation to generation. The first-year and transfer students experienced T-Bridge, beanies, “H” pins and Sweet Alma Home for the first time.
The ceremony kicked off with upperclass students greeting the news students at T-bridge, a tradition that is more than 100 years old with a new route but the same demonstration of affection for Heidelberg. As they crossed T-Bridge, the new students tossed a penny into Rock Creek, signifying to the world that they are proud to be Student Princes. Reaching the other side, they received their “H” pins from upperclassmen, a symbol that they are proud to be Student Princes. They then processed into Seiberling Gymnasium to the dynamic sounds of the Marching band and the official beginning of their Heidelberg journey.
Dr. Chris Abrams, dean of Student Affairs, explained the Heidelberg traditions. As with the original T-Bridge story dating back to the 1900s, a young princess was confronted with a quick decision by the Student Prince: Choose treasurer or the Prince’s love.
“The T-Bridge tradition symbolizes that during your time at Heidelberg, you will have to make some difficult choices. … Ultimately, you will have to make some sacrifices just as our Student Prince did,” Chris said.
At T-Bridge, the new students also received their Heidelberg beanies, one of the university’s longest-standing traditions. Although the beanie tradition has evolved, it symbolizes the beginning of a connection to the Heidelberg family and to upperclassmen. “It will become a cherished possession over time,” he said.
As the students attached their new “H” pins during Convocation, they learned that it will be recognized far and wide. “That pin symbolizes not only to the campus but to Tiffin and around the world that you are part of the Heidelberg family. I hope you’ll be proud to wear that pin.”
Chris concluded: “We look forward to a great year, to struggling with you, to celebrating with you – because that’s what we do.”
The Convocation ceremony closed with the singing of Sweet Alma Home, the first of many times the new ‘Berg family members will hear and sing the alma mater.