Wittenberg introduced its new, on-line Pre-Orientation program in June, 2013. By accessing their MyWitt page through the WittLink portal, incoming students are given an introduction to academic life at Wittenberg, as well as the opportunity to provide course preferences that will enable the Office of the Registrar to build them a fall schedule that meets their needs and moves them toward graduation. Through this system, students can also complete their housing survey, take placement tests, complete their medical forms, and upload a picture for their Wittenberg ID, all at the student’s convenience and wherever internet access is available. Through the Pre-Orientation Office, students and their families can call and arrange a campus tour, visit a residence hall room, or request to speak with an academic adviser. The Pre-Orientation process at Wittenberg is designed to ensure that all incoming students get the information and advice they need to make a successful start to their college careers.
New Student Orientation
New Student Days is an orientation program designed to introduce entering and transfer students to Wittenberg and assist them with their transition to college. New students, faculty advisers, resident advisers, and selected upper-class orientation assistants come together each day for a variety of activities. The program includes major presentations, small group discussions, the first meeting of the Wittenberg Seminars (WittSems) classes, individual conferences with faculty advisers, residence hall gatherings, and many social events.
At the beginning of the Fall Semester a special convocation is held to mark the official opening of Wittenberg for another academic year. Faculty members march in academic procession and academic promotions in rank and tenure are announced. Student Senate is introduced by the Dean of Students. The following officers process with the Presidential Party: Senior Class President carries the Torch, Senate President carries the Witt Banner, Senate Vice President carries the Lutherstadt Banner and Senate Treasurer carries the ELCA Banner.
Autumn brings Homecoming, a time for celebration and the return of alumni to campus. Class reunions, fraternity and sorority open houses, and other activities are available. The focal point is the football game, with the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen, who are chosen in a campus-wide election.
Fall Family Weekend provides an opportunity for all students’ families to share in the life and tradition of Wittenberg. During this weekend, the Parents Association meets, and athletic and other events are scheduled.
The idea for an international exposition was conceived in 1974. Crossroads stresses the interconnectedness of world communities and the interdependence of nations and cultures. Traditionally, Crossroads occurs during the Homecoming festivities and includes food from the many cultures represented on campus.
Wittenberg commemorates its founding March 11, for on that day in 1845 the State of Ohio granted its charter. However, Wittenberg’s official founding date is recognized as October 18, 1842, when the English Lutheran Synod of Ohio called the school into being. Ezra Keller was its founder and first president.
Agora, first sponsored in 1974 by the staff of Sounds (then the campus literary magazine) and members of the Wittenberg College Honor Society, occurs on Family Weekend when the campus becomes a busy marketplace for creativity. Groups and individuals display their creative talents in a variety of ways for the enrichment and enjoyment of others, particularly families and fellow students.
Greek Week is a week-long activity held in the fall designed to build unity among fraternity and sorority chapters. In the spirit of friendly competition, teams participate in a variety of events including lawn and street games, pool games, a lip sync contest and a community service project.
In the spring, most honor societies recognize scholarship, service, and leadership by tapping new members. Members of these societies are honored at a formal program. Among those recognized are the recipients of the following honors:
Named for each of Wittenberg’s former presidents, Presidential Scholars are recognized each year. They are members of the junior class who have maintained the highest academic standing in their class through the preceding five semesters at Wittenberg.
M. Alice Geiger Award
Instituted in 1974 at the time of the 100th anniversary of women at Wittenberg, the award recognizes a senior woman for a specific, outstanding contribution to the area of the performing or literary arts, athletics, extracurricular leadership, new programming, special academic pursuit, or special representation. The student’s contribution may have been made at any time during her college career. Any student or faculty member may submit a nomination.
John F. Mitchell Award
Named for the first valedictorian at Wittenberg and instituted in 1979, the award recognizes a senior man who represents the liberal arts tradition: a highly respected good student and positive force in academic, cultural, and social aspects on the campus. He exemplifies open-mindedness, understanding, reliability, and a wide range of interests. Any student or faculty member may submit a nomination.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Award
This award, instituted in 1981, recognizes two outstanding African American seniors, a man and a woman, who have been positive examples to members of the black community and the university during their college careers. Consideration is given to those students who have pursued a challenging course of study, exhibited upstanding character in and outside the classroom, displayed leadership, good citizenship, and an orientation toward service to others, and exhibited a positive attitude toward higher education in general and an interest in furthering the ideal of equality at Wittenberg.
Broadwell Chinn Award
Named for Broadwell Chinn, documented as one of the first African American students to attend Wittenberg in the 1870s, this award was given for the first time in 1981 to recognize the African American junior with the highest grade-point average.
Global Awareness Award
The Global Awareness Award, instituted in 1992, recognizes a senior who has contributed to greater global awareness within the Wittenberg University community.
Heimtraut Dietrich Award
Established in 1981 in remembrance of Heimtraut Dietrich, who served Wittenberg as an administrator and teacher through her commitment to excellence and caring for others attributes, which found their source of strength in her steadfast Christian faith. It is presented to the student who best exemplifies the dedication to serve and assist others through a commitment of faith.
Lillian C. Franklin Diversity Award
Established in 2009 in recognition of Dr. Lillian Franklin, who served Wittenberg as a professor of languages. The award is granted each year to honor a student and a faculty/staff member who have made outstanding contributions in promoting and furthering our goal of rich diversity in the Wittenberg community. Candidates must uphold the tradition of diversity embodied by the award’s namesake, demonstrate high standards of personal integrity, commitment to the education of the whole person, global vision and leadership.
Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching Excellence Award
Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, presents this award to a faculty member who has been teaching for at least two, but no more than five, years at Wittenberg. The award was first presented in 1977. Students, faculty, and staff may make nominations. Final selection is made by Omicron Delta Kappa according to these criteria: excellence in classroom teaching, favorable student/teacher rapport, contributions to the department and Wittenberg, and professional recognition.
This is the highest honor bestowed upon a woman at Wittenberg. Students, faculty and staff may nominate a junior woman. A special screening committee selects five nominations for final consideration. A campus-wide election determines which nominee is selected to represent Wittenberg. The Alma Mater must possess depth of character and show consistent leadership, service, and concern for the college community.
This is the highest honor bestowed upon a male at Wittenberg. Students, faculty and staff may nominate a junior male. A special screening committee selects five nominations for final consideration. A campus-wide election determines which nominee is selected to represent Wittenberg. The Alma Lux must possess depth of character and show consistent leadership, service, and concern for the college community. This award was instituted in 2003.
Distinguished Teaching Award
Students, alumni, faculty, or staff members may nominate candidates for this award, which was first presented in 1961. The professor honored is one who “has a capacity for reaching a high level of success in leading students to knowledge and understanding of the subject taught and in transmitting something of the teacher’s own enthusiasm and inspiration.” The recipient is presented with a citation and a $2,000 honorarium by the Alumni Association.
Planned by and involving a variety of graduating seniors and the pastors, Baccalaureate is held in Weaver Chapel on the Friday before Commencement. A special reception is held for graduating seniors and their parents afterwards. Also on Friday a special luncheon is held for senior members of the honor societies. Each senior is invited to bring a favorite faculty member. Parents also frequently attend and the Distinguished Teacher of the Year usually gives an address. Traditionally, Commencement exercises take place in Commencement Hollow next to Carnegie Hall.
Weaver Chapel Services
Worship opportunities throughout the academic year include Sunday morning service in the Chapel and Sunday evening contemporary worship service in Ness auditorium led by the pastors; Sunday night Roman Catholic Mass, led by a local priest; and chapel services on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with student-led music and speakers from faculty, staff, students, and others. Also during the semester are special services in which many musical organizations participate, including Reformation Service, Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas, and Baccalaureate. Information is available on the web at http://www5.wittenberg.edu/administration/chapel.html.
Red & White
The class of 1889 suggested and adopted cardinal and cream as Wittenberg’s colors, but in the early 1900s, pennants and banners deviated from the traditional colors to become red and white, today recognized by the NCAA and other organizations as Wittenberg’s official colors.
Wittenberg’s athletic teams have not always been known as the Tigers. The term “Tigers of the West” was first used on September 29, 1921, as a headline over a picture of the football team. Until the early 1940s, references were made to the “Fighting Lutherans” and the “Cardinal and Cream.” Early in the 1940s the term “Tigers” was used frequently, and in 1945-46 John Norris, an art student, created a cartoon with Atom, the Wittenberg Tiger, as a symbol of the spirit of Wittenberg athletics. Atom later became Ezry and enjoyed many years of popularity as a regular Torch cartoon. A Tiger mascot, appearing in costume at athletic events, is chosen each year.
In 1936, in an effort to further school spirit, a Victory Bell was housed in the cupola of Myers Hall. The bell was rung after each Tiger victory until it cracked in 1961. In 1965-66 the residents of Myers Hall purchased another bell, thus resuming the announcement of Tiger victories. The bell is now located in the stadium. The Sesquicentennial Bell, a gift from the Classes of 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, now hangs in the Myers Hall cupola. It rings as seniors proceed into Graduation Hollow for Commencement as well as after the ceremony.