Roanoke College

Welcome to the Historical Society


Founded in 1875 by the college's first president, David F. Bittle, the Society is the oldest student organization on campus. The society plans outings to historical sites, hosts films and speakers, and sponsors socials two or three times a year.
Contact any History Department faculty member in the Bank Building for further information about meetings and to be added to the Society mailing list!
To learn more about the History Department, Classes, and the Major, Minor and Concentration programs, please visit the history department website.

Every year, the History Department sponsors Signature Events, with the help of the Historical Society. Brief descriptions of the events are listed below:

~ Founder's Day ~
On Founder's Day, the birthday of the Founder of RC and the Historical Society, the Society puts on a series of events to honor the first president: David F. Bittle. The evening begins with a trek to the cemetery on the Hill to meet Bittle face-to-face, and concludes on the back quad with a bonfire and lots of activities and ceremonies. Sometimes there are even costumes involved!

~ Bittle's Bash ~
After the sun sets on Founder's Day, the Society gets an opportunity to celebrate Bittle's Birthday in the Cavern. Between the Karaoke and disco lighting, it is always a night to remember. Students and professors let their hair down and celebrate the College and the Society that we love!

~Holocaust Memorial Day~
The Holocaust Memorial Day consists of a movie event, speaker and chapel service in which the Historical Society remembers the numerous holocausts throughout history and focus on spreading the ideals of compassion and human understanding that can prevent holocaust altogether.

~ History Through the Lens~
Once a month a faculty member and the Historical Society host a movie night complete with snacks.  The movies are historically based and are picked by the professor hosting the night. The event highlights the portrayal of history through the lens.

~ Colloquium ~
The symposium is a great celebration highlighting the accomplishments of the students that have completed the senior seminar class. The seniors present and defend their projects in a formal setting, to a board of professors in front of an audience of their peers.

~ Christmas Banquet~
The Christmas Banquet is the fall version of the Colloquium.  The Chef's from the commons work together to create a fusion dinner for the seminar classes.  For example when there was a 1792 seminar and one on Latin America, there was a dinner as if the ambassador from a Latin American country came to visit the White House in 1792.

~Fall Walking Tour- Parent's Weekend~
Every Parent's weekend students traditionally lead historic walking tours of the RC campus and surrounding area.  The tours normally commence at 11 am on Saturday and may even include a guide dressed in period costume!

~Salem Christmas Tour~
Every year History students, along with tremendous help from Mrs. Miller (College Archivist), host a beautifully decorated historic home in the Salem Christmas Tour.  Students give tours of the house and offer cider and cookies, as it is one of many stops on the route.  It just wouldn't be Christmas without the Salem Christmas Tour!

~Ghost Walk~
In the fall, right around Halloween time, History students participate as guides in the Salem Ghost Walk, held by the Salem Museum.  Tour guides dress up in period costume and lead walks telling the scary stories of hauntings around RC and Salem, including a stop by the graveyard! It is always a fun and chilling experience!

~ Spring Picnic ~
Each year at the end of the spring semester, Dr. Miller hosts a picnic for the department and friends at his house on High Street. Delicious food is always a key attraction, as well as the campfire at dusk, complete with singing and Dr. Selby's annual fire walk. It is always a fitting end and celebration of each year, especially for graduating seniors.

~ Alumni Reception ~
The Senior class joins the Alumni each Alumni Weekend on the History Department's terrace for an evening of fun.

~ Senior Reception ~
The night before Graduation, Seniors and their families are invited to attend a reception at the home of the head of the Department.

~ Presidential Inauguration ~
A less frequent event, but no less fun, members of the Society marched in a parade to reenact the first inauguration of President Bittle on the night before the inauguration in 2008 of our newest president, Michael Maxey. We had a great time celebrating the past and the future of Roanoke College!