Saturday, May 4, 2019
An important part of graduation weekend is the May Day ceremony, one of Bluffton’s oldest traditions, which began in 1910. It intertwines the past with alumni reunions, the present by honoring this year's graduates, and the future when honored first-year students perform the traditional Maypole dance.
THE BOX OFFICE is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and is located at the Information Desk in Marbeck Center, or purchase tickets for meals, the musical and register for the May Day 5k and Nature Preserve Walk online at http://tickets.bluffton.edu.
Participation in the May Day Ceremony is required for graduating seniors.
Only those involved in a Bluffton University athletic event are excused. Suggested attire for May Day: Students should dress in nice spring attire; dress pants, shirts, ties, dresses are all great; jeans and shorts and tshirts/sweatshirts are discouraged. If the weather is cold, please wear a sweater or jacket.
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch in The Commons (optional)
1 p.m. – Graduating seniors report to Stutzman Lecture Hall to line up
1:30 p.m. – May Day ceremony, Centennial Lawn
2:30 p.m. – Graduates and families are invited to celebrate with faculty and staff and enjoy graduation cake, Centennial Lawn
|Visit the Bluffton University bookstore each day until 5 p.m.
|FRIDAY, MAY 3
|9 a.m. - 5 p.m.||Annual Juried Student Exhibition, Sauder Visual Arts Center|
|4 p.m.||Class of '69 reception and dinner, Marbeck Center|
|4:30 p.m.||Class of '79 reception and dinner, Sommer Center|
|7:30 p.m.||May Day Musical, Guys and Dolls, Yoder Recital Hall
|SATURDAY, MAY 4
|7 a.m.||Check-in and registration for May Day 5k and Nature Preserve Walk|
|8 a.m. - 9 a.m.||May Day 5k and Nature Preserve Walk|
|9 a.m. to 5 p.m.||Annual Juried Student Exhibition, Sauder Visual Arts Center|
|9 a.m.||Cross country and track reception, Sommer Center|
|9:30 a.m.||Alumni choir sing/Student honors recital, Yoder Hall|
|9:30 - 11:30 a.m.||Guided campus tours leave every 30 minutes from Marbeck Center's Kiva|
|10:30 - 11:15 a.m.||Music Department reception, Mosiman Hall|
|11:30 a.m to 1 p.m.||Lunch for graduates, alumni, families and friends, The Commons, Marbeck Center|
|1:30 p.m.||May Day Ceremony, Centennial Lawn|
|2:30 p.m.||Class of 2019 reception on Centennial Lawn. Introduce your family to faculty and enjoy refreshments.|
|2:30 p.m.||Ultimate Frisbee, Alumni Field|
|2:30 - 4 p.m.||Science and mathematics reception for alumni and graduates/families, Shoker Science Center|
|2:30 - 4:30 p.m.||Guided campus tours leave every 30 minutes from Marbeck Center's Kiva|
|5:30 p.m.||Pi Delta Society Banquet, The Commons|
|7:30 p.m.||May Day Musical, Guys and Dolls, Yoder Recital Hall|
SUNDAY, MAY 5
|10:30 a.m. Baccalaureate, Founders Hall|
|11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.||Lunch buffet, The Commons, Marbeck Center|
|1 - 5 p.m.||Annual Juried Student Exhibition, Sauder Visual Arts Center|
|2 p.m.||Commencement, Sommer Center|
HIGHLIGHTS OF MAY DAY 2019 INCLUDED:
MAY DAY MUSICAL
Guys and Dolls
A musical fable of Broadway with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Gambler Nathan Detroit is seeking cash to set up the biggest craps game in town, but both the authorities and his fiancé of 14 years are breathing down his neck. When Detroit makes a bet with a fellow gambler’s love life, this oddball romantic comedy takes us from Times Square to Cuba to the sewers of New York City.
Founders Hall - adults $15; students $5
May 3 -4 at 7:30 p.m.
MAY DAY RUN/WALK
A 5k race/Nature Preserve walk sponsored by the Bluffton University Alumni Association with support from Bluffton Hospital. Register early to reserve your tech-fabric shirt. Medals awarded to top three finishers in each age/gender bracket. Trophies awarded to fastest male and fastest female.
7 a.m. check in and walk-up registration begins;
8 a.m. START 5k race and Nature Preserve walk
9 a.m. Medals and trophies awarded
ANNUAL JURIED STUDENT EXHIBITION
This exhibit showcases work created by all Bluffton University students in the arts programs in a variety of mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.
Grace Albrecht Gallery, Sauder Visual Arts Center
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ALUMNI CHOIR SING/STUDENT HONORS RECITAL AND RECEPTION
A highlight of May Day is when former Bluffton choir/chorale members gather and revisit their favorite choral pieces. We will intersperse some solo performance pieces by our best music students. A reception follows in the Gilliom Room. The alumni choir will gather again to sing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" to close the May Day ceremony.
CLASS REUNIONS AND LUNCH
Come and reminisce. Reconnect with your classmates, renew friendships and celebrate Bluffton!
Adult lunches $15, Children 10 and under $8
The Commons, Marbeck Center
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tickets available online and at the door
MAY DAY CEREMONY
This event celebrates the end of an academic year, the beginning of a new chapter for graduates and the remembrance of times past for alumni. It includes the colorful Maypole dance performed by first-year students, crowning of the queen and king and recognition of graduating seniors.
PI DELTA SOCIETY
The 2018 Pi Delta Annual Banquet will be held in the Commons at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5.
Bluffton students, parents and alumni celebrate May Day each year on an early May weekend. This celebration includes alumni reunions, graduation events and student activities.
The May Day tradition at Bluffton University dates back to 1910 and continues to feature the Maypole dance, perhaps the most spectacular event of the weekend.
Each year, 16 first-year students, eight men and eight women, are chosen to dance the Maypole dance. The dance takes place around a large pole. The dancers, wearing colorful, Germanic-style costumes, encircle the pole. Then each couple in turn grabs two streamers that are hung from the top of the pole. The dancers proceed to weave the streamers around the pole. When the dancers have wound their streamers part way down the pole, the weaving stops and each couple is reunited.
May Day celebrations were once popular across the United States at many colleges and universities. However, they are now rare.
May Day celebrations date back to 238 B.C. in Rome. The Roman holiday was a celebration of the goddess Flora and the coming of spring. In England, May Day was a celebration of flowers and the coming of spring after a cold winter. The May Day dance represented the joy of the coming of spring and the streamers represented the rays of the sun.
At Bluffton the May Day celebration represents the end of a school year for students,
the beginning of a new chapter for seniors and the remembrance of times past for alumni.
The tradition weaves together past, present and future around the Maypole in a never-ending
Watch the Maypole dance
May Day schedule