Old Gold is a DePauw University campus tradition that dates back to 1907 when it was used as a way to stop increasingly violent battles between classes.
Back then, Old Gold began with chapel and was followed by interclass games and other scheduled events. Since 1919, Old Gold became what is it today, an alumni event, and DePauw’s version of homecoming.
“It’s an opportunity for alumni to come back and celebrate campus life,” said Steve Setchell, associate vice president for alumni engagement and campaign initiatives. This year, alumni were able to attend events centered around Prindle’s tenth anniversary, hall of fame inductions for athletes, a football game, and the DePauw Theatre musical “Young Frankenstein.”
Many alumni who return for Old Gold weekend have not been on campus for many years. “There was one couple that came through that hadn’t been on campus for over 50 years. They were pretty amazed just trying to figure out where things were,” Setchell said.
The group Setchell spent most time with this weekend was the athletics hall of fame inductees who returned across all graduation years and teams. This year, the 2007 Women’s Basketball team was inducted as the first national champions at DePauw. “Having followed that team ten years ago, it was great to see them back,” Setchell said.
Old Gold weekend features a variety of events each year to try to appeal to a broad audience. “At one time, there was an Old Gold parade,” Myrna Hernandez, dean of students, said. Students put together floats and paraded around campus.
Junior Paige Frost, vice president of student programming, is in charge of the presentation of the Old Gold court during halftime. “[We] come up with the ideas for the gala and we plan it together. This year we did the event in the Campus Life Living Room and the setup was done Friday before the event,” Frost said.
Historically, Old Gold was limited to a day and not a weekend, according to Setchell. As the itinerary increased over the years, it grew to take part over multiple days. In future years, Setchell hopes to host a majority of Old Gold events on Saturday in order for alumni to avoid dealing with the difficulty of lodging.
Old Gold events are not limited to the DePauw campus, “More and more we’re getting alumni downtown to Greencastle to take in new restaurants and attend events,” said Setchell. This provides the alumni opportunities to see the new and revised downtown square and engage with the Greencastle community.
Although many alumni returned for Old Gold, DePauw hosts another major alumni event in the fall semester: the Monon Bell football game. “We’ll engage more alumni that week than we will at any other time in the year,” said Setchell. In recent years, the Monon Bell game has attracted a lot of student and alumni involvement, prompting Old Gold weekend to see a decline in alumni presence because many choose to visit in November.
“The way we’re going to try it next year is combine Old Gold with Family Weekend,” said Setchell. Since both events are aimed at doing the same thing, rolling out the red carpet for alumni, providing an exciting game-day experience, and hosting community events, Setchell hopes the combination of the two in late September will result in a larger showing.
According to Setchell, planning Old Gold is a team effort that requires coordination from the president’s office, athletic department, student academic life, and more campus partners in order to provide a meaningful experience for the guests. He said planning for next year’s Old Gold weekend starts now.