Recently, we have been updating the board outside the Archives for spring. It displays pictures of two events which occurred at NMU during April and May. Here is more information about those two events:
Glenn T Seaborg Visits Northern: Glenn T. Seaborg was a Nobel Prize winning chemist who helped discover ten elements and advised ten US Presidents. He also served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He was born in Ishpeming. To honor him, Northern named the Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center after him. The Center focuses on training prospective teachers and offering workshops for current teachers.
He visited Northern several times, but in April 1998 he came to tour the new Center. His visit included meetings with area teachers and students.
The Mud Festival: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Mud Festival was put on by the Residence Halls in the spring. It included a variety of events such as an egg throw, sled races, obstacle courses, wheelbarrow races, tug of war, fieldball, and softball. The events occurred in the “mud area”, the space between Payne and Spalding Halls. A Queen of the Mud Festival was also crowned.
The Mud Festival was compared to an older Northern tradition, Rush Day. Originally taking place in December, Rush Day was later transferred to June in the 1920s. It was intended to replace the hazing of first-year students. NMU’s encyclopedia, A Sense of Time, has quite a long entry about Rush Day:
On the appointed day (usually in June) the faculty and students went to Presque Isle Park for a lunch and then a series of games and contests. One event, called the bag tussle, included pushing the large medicine ball filled with hay from one territory to another with opponents seized and tied. The Rush was physically violent and involved kidnapping class officers, but was encouraged by the editors of the Northern Normal News as an important campus tradition. The Rush Day ended with a parade and dance in the evening…
World War II put a halt to Rush Day. In 1946, Northern attempted to revive the tradition. However, A Sense of Time notes that “It was found that most of the juniors were battle-hardened veterans who would destroy the regular seniors.” It was discontinued and never revived.
Come visit the Archives to see the pictures and learn more about these and other events in Northern’s history!