Classes at Asbury University have unique traditions. These create a strong identification among Asbury’s students during their time on campus as well as after graduation.
As early as 1915, if not before, classes were electing officers and choosing a motto, colors, and even a class flower, but not a name. The tradition of naming classes seems to have started in the arena of class sports. For decades, before Asbury had intercollegiate sports, each class formed sports teams that played each other throughout the season, ending in an all-school championship. The major team sports were men’s and women’s basketball and men’s baseball and soccer.
By the early 1930s, the classes had started choosing names for their teams – one name for all the teams representing a particular class, no matter the gender or sport. The class voted on the name and also colors for the uniforms, at a class meeting early in the freshman year, and kept the same ones throughout their four years. It appears that these names gradually developed into a class identity and were used to refer to the class as a whole. The earliest instance the Archives staff has found of a class name clearly being applied to the entire class, rather than just a sports team, is with the class of 1942; the earliest evidence found where that happened from the very start of freshman year, is the class of 1950. The first instance found where the class sponsors chose the name for the incoming freshmen was for the class of 1951. Through the late ’40s, classes were apparently voting on a verse and hymn sometime during their junior or senior year; during 1949-50 the selection was moved to the freshman year. Since the 1960s, faculty or staff advisors can be documented for each class, although there were also classes in the 1920s that had faculty advisors.
Today, each incoming class is assigned sponsors, also a very long-standing tradition, since the class of 1931. Two senior students (male and female) are elected by their own class to serve in this position. The sponsors recruit faculty or staff advisors for the new freshmen, and choose a name, class colors, and verse that will be that class’s identity for their years at Asbury and beyond. During the class’s first semester, they choose a hymn. It is tradition that when a class hymn is sung in chapel, that class stands and sings the first verse alone, then the rest of the student body joins them for the rest of the hymn. These traditions carry over to class reunions, which are held at five-year intervals.
CLASS TRADITION TRIVIA:
According to our records, there are three class hymns that have been selected most, each used five times through Asbury's history: Lead On, O King Eternal (1944, 1948, 1953, 1961, 1966); A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (1950, 1960, 1967, 1975, 1995); and Soldiers of Christ, Arise (1951, 1955, 1959, 1971, 1978).
The most-selected class verse through the years has been Philippians 3:13-14, selected five times:"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction." (KJV) - Classes of 1952, 1958, 1962, and 1973, and 1988.