News & Publications
Annual Senior Bell Ringing Tradition Continues at St. John’s
FOR RELEASE: January 23, 2012
CONTACT: Gregory Shook, 410-626-2539
Every year the bell of St. John’s College’s McDowell Hall rings to mark an important rite of passage for seniors at the country’s third oldest college. Each of this year's 123 seniors will be allowed one celebratory peal between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 5, commemorating the completion of a major senior paper that is due that evening. The Mayor’s Office has granted the college a special exemption from the Annapolis noise ordinance to allow the college to continue this tradition.
Seniors will turn in their essays to Dean Pamela Kraus before midnight February 4 at a reception at the home of President Christopher Nelson in Annapolis. Then they return to campus to press a button to sound the bell in McDowell Hall's cupola.
This spring, seniors will participate in formal, hour-long oral exams on their essays. These examinations represent the culmination of the students' academic life at St. John's, and seniors typically choose topics of particular interest to them from their studies of the foundational works of Western civilization.