Each year, UMHB seniors gather on a Friday night at the end of the spring semester for Midnight March. This year’s ceremony was held at midnight on Saturday, April 13. Students gathered near the Sesquicentennial Plaza in the Quad on Friday night in preparation for the seniors to arrive.
During the week before Midnight March, members of the senior class decorate candles and distribute them to students and faculty who have impacted them in a positive manner during their time at UMHB. In addition, each senior chooses a member of the junior class to robe during the ceremony. At the event, students stand in a circle with their candles, and the seniors come around and light them. After all the candles are lit, the seniors robe the junior class. This gesture symbolizes the transition to the next group of seniors.
After the juniors have been robed, the graduating class and the juniors usually sing the senior song, “Up with the Purple.” However, they did something different this year. Instead of singing the traditional song, all of the students participated in the Cru Spirit Dance, which is a fan favorite at football games and other school events.
Senior Kelly Taylor, who is a double major in psychology and criminal justice, thinks that this change was a good one. “While ‘Up with the Purple’ is the senior song and it’s tradition to sing it, I feel that the Cru Spirit Dance was more fitting for this occasion because Midnight March is all about reflecting back on your time at UMHB, while ‘Up with the Purple’ looks more towards the future,” she said.“One of my first memories here is during Welcome Week at Spirit and Traditions, when the Cru Spirit Dance was played over and over and over again. It was nice to reflect back on that memory during this tradition.”
After Midnight March ends, members of the graduating class can ring the Senior Bell. The bell is located near the Parker House, which contains the Musick Alumni Center and Museum. This year, free popcorn was available for students, and seniors were able to take home a commemorative cup.
Bonnie Moriarty, a senior English education major, enjoyed being able to participate in Midnight March. “My favorite experience with Midnight March was how everything stayed centered on celebrating friendships at UMHB,” she said. “It was meaningful to light candles of underclassmen who impacted our time here.”
Moriarty robed Chloe Poe, a sophomore education major. “I am so blessed to have a friend like Bonnie,” she said. “I hope I am as good[of]a dorm Resident Assistant as her. I can’t wait for when I am a senior and get to robe someone.”
Midnight March is not a new event at UMHB. Traditionally, senior students would walk through the hallways of each dorm carrying candles and singing “Up with the Purple.” Students who lived in the dorms would stand in the doorways of their rooms and wait for the seniors to pass. Members of the graduating class would dip their candles in a sign of friendship as they passed the doors of their friends. Although this event eventually moved to the Quad, it is no less important for UMHB students. Although it is not known exactly when the robing ceremony first took place, it may have started as early as 1902.
For more information about UMHB traditions, such as Midnight March, Charter Day, Easter Pageant, Miss Mary Hardin- Baylor, Crusader Knights, Stunt Night and many more, visit go.umhb.edu/