Aug. 13, 2004

Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

Early-bird Mount Oread scholars to join annual walk up the Hill Aug. 16 at KU

LAWRENCE -- At 7:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16, a select group of University of Kansas freshmen known as Mount Oread scholars will begin at KU with a walk up the hill known as Mount Oread (pronounced "OR-ee-ad"), enjoy a continental breakfast in Spencer Research Library and learn some campus history.

Lloyd Sponholtz, Mount Oread Scholars Program director, is preparing for the walk that has become an annual tradition for these freshman scholars. KU's fall classes will begin Thursday, Aug. 19.

The walk and upward direction symbolize the scholars' first year at KU and their preparation for their graduation goal of walking down the Hill. Every spring, thousands of graduating KU students make a processional march from the top of Mount Oread through the Memorial Campanile and down into Memorial Stadium for the commencement ceremony.

James B. Carothers, KU professor of English who proposed the walk in 1996, annually accompanies the students, providing commentary about campus history as they take the short walk to Spencer Research Library for a continental breakfast with the library staff. KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger may join the scholars for the walk.

William J. Crowe, Spencer librarian, will greet the students and invite them to learn more about all of KU's libraries as well as they enjoy a commanding view of the Kaw River Valley from the gallery of Spencer Research Library.

The KU Libraries house scores of internationally significant collections and offer a variety of innovative services to support learning. Spencer Research Library, for example, includes one of the best sports photo collections in the United States, many archival collections related to the history of Kansas and about 350,000 printed books from the 15th century to the 21st century.

Established in 1996, KU's Mount Oread Scholars Program is only for freshmen. Entering freshmen are invited to become Mount Oread scholars if they graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school class and received an ACT composite score of 28 to 30 or an SAT score of 1,240 to 1,330. Mount Oread scholars work individually with an adviser in their field of interest and may enroll in relatively small classes or be taught by veteran faculty. The program's retention rate of freshmen is above 90 percent.

Mount Oread is the name given to the ridge above the Kaw River on Aug. 1, 1854, by New Englanders settling in Lawrence. They pitched camp on the ridge, naming it for an institute in Massachusetts that also occupied a commanding site overlooking its town. The word "oread" derives from Greek and Roman mythology meaning "mountain nymph."

 • 7:15 a.m. Begin outside south end of Memorial Stadium near the scoreboard.

 • Proceed about halfway uphill and stop at the Rock Chalk Cairn, once a heap of limestones created through the efforts of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society at KU in the 1920s for a torch-lighting ceremony that now is used in KU's Traditions Night, at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16. Originally the cairn contained stones from Old North College, the first building on the KU campus. Neither Old North nor the stone pile exists today.

 • Proceed to the north side of the campanile, stopping at the paved entrance to look over the Kaw River Valley and learn about the tradition for graduating seniors.

 • Proceed to the esplanade between Strong Hall and Spencer Research Library (main entrance level for both buildings).


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