Our middle child will be graduating in May with an engineering degree. She attends the Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly the University of Missouri – Rolla and originally The Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy) where over 90% of its 7,500+ students study engineering, computing, mathematics, and the sciences. From the first moment she set foot on campus, she was hooked. She loves her school and actively recruits anyone who remotely shows an interest in engineering.
One of her school’s oldest traditions, dating back to 1908, is the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, and the celebrations include a series of events including a Coronation and Knighting Ceremony and a St. Pat’s Parade. You can even view a video of the 1949 St. Pat’s Parade here.
Every year St. Pat’s is named “The Best Ever.”
Since 1992, this formerly unsanctioned series of events has been coordinated by the students in conjunction with the university and the local community.
Our daughter invited us to attend this year’s festivities because she was selected to represent one of the campus organizations as their Queen. Yes, I can now proudly say, “My Daughter, The Queen.”
The Coronation and Knighting Ceremony is a schmaltzy mix of serious and fun events including the knighting of specially selected members of the community and students (some of whom must be dragged to the stage to kiss the Blarney Stone and be knighted).
The Queen of Love and Beauty and her court of four maidens.
After the Knighting Ceremony, the Queen’s Court is announced and the Queen of Love and Beauty is named.
Our baby was thrilled and honored to be named one of the four members of the Queen’s court – The Duchess of Desire and Ecstasy. This was a really big deal for her and a proud parenting moment for us for sure. (We did not ask why she was honored with this particular Maiden title, and I don’t think we want to know.)
Our baby got to ride on a float in the parade with the other members of the Queen’s court.
The final event of the weekend (other than the drinking) was the St. Pat’s Parade which included over 100 floats. For a small campus and town, this is a significant parade and event.
We had a great time attending St. Pat’s in Rolla and, while the glorification of alcohol that is part of this event was not lost on me as the daughter of two alcoholics, I was impressed by the school and community pride that was in abundance. When we went to one of the local hangouts (a dingy bar in the basement of the building that also houses a just off campus university bookstore), all of the students were nice and respectful of those of us who were quite obviously not of their generation. They take great care to acknowledge their alumni and to make sure that anyone in need of a sober driver had access to one.
I am so happy that my baby has had the full college experience. She has worked hard and played hard. She has already secured permanent employment after she graduates in May. And, while events with large crowds and a lot of drinking aren’t necessarily on my list of favorite things to do, I am grateful that she and her friends included us in her last St. Pat’s as a student.
Brains and beauty, students and alumni together, at the Best Ever St. Pat’s Parade 2012.