May Day

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. 

Activities include a May Day 5k and Nature Preserve Walk and the May Day Musical. You are invited to participate in any and all May Day events.

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. Male students should wear shirt, tie, slacks. Female students can wear a skirt/dress or dressy slacks/blouse. If the weather is cold, please wear a sweater or jacket.

Graduating seniors:
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 

2019 SCHEDULE

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:

musicalMAY DAY MUSICAL
Guys and Dolls

A musical based off of "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure" by Damon Runyon. 

A bet is made in New York to finance a crap game. The gambler is challenged to take a female missionary on a date to Havana. The two unintentionally fall for each other. 

Founders Hall - adults $15; students $5
May  3 at 7:30 p.m.
Buy tickets

may day runMAY 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. 

Sommer Center
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
Register

juried art showANNUAL 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. - 5 p.m.

chioirALUMNI 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.

 

reunionsCLASS REUNIONS AND LUNCH
Come and reminisce. Reconnect with your classmates, renew friendships and celebrate Bluffton! Because of growing crowds, two venues have been established. A buffet luncheon will be available in Marbeck Center for alumni, family and friends through 2014. A picnic lunch will be available inside Burcky gym for alumni, family and friends of classes 2015-2017; and for 2018 graduates, their families and current students . Adult lunches $15, Children 10 and under $8

Marbeck Center Commons and Burcky Gym
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tickets available online and at the door

ceremonyMAY 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.
Centennial Lawn
1:30 p.m.


banquet
PI DELTA SOCIETY

The 2018 Pi Delta Annual Banquet will be held in the Commons at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5.

 

 

 

may day

History 

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.

m dance 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 circle.

Top