Rollins College President Hugh McKean with the Fox, 1956. Photo: Rollins College Archive
Fox Day at Rollins College
Day is a rite of spring at prestigious Rollins College in Winter
Park, Florida; it is a day of freedom, when students and teachers
abandon classes to enjoy a spring day. An anticipated annual event,
the tradition began on May 17, 1956, when college president Hugh
McKean moved a ceramic fox to the green in front of Mills Memorial
Library and, that done, cancelled classes for the day. The entire
college was invited to a treasure hunt, picnic and square
Originally the fox came from Senator Murray Sams who
donated cat and fox statues from his home in New Smyrna. The two
statues flanked the walkway to the Rec Hall. President McKean
created the Fox Society for men and the Cat Society for women. Four
students were selected each year for induction during a large
campus ceremony. Only members of the societies could touch the
statues. The qualifications for the Cat and Fox were "a subtle
sense of human, finesse, and general attitude of blasé
Through the years, the celebration of Fox Day has
grown in popularity. Always the option of the college president
whether and when to celebrate Fox Day, students eagerly try to
guess when and if the day will be announced. On the special day,
the fox appears early in the morning, sitting on a wooden box, arms
folded and accompanied by a proclamation and signed with a paw
print. Mostly students head for the beaches but return in the
afternoon for a late picnic, or even an Hawaiian luau, on the
college grounds. After the picnic, students end the day with a
gathering in the Knowles Memorial Chapel.
Project documentation includes several photos from
the Rollins College Archives, a one-page report and a booklet
entitled "The First Fox Days."
Originally submitted by: Bill McCollum, Representative (8th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.