Every year, hundreds of high school students come to visit Ouachita. Many of them have been in contact with admissions counselors and are thrilled to see with their own eyes the school that they have heard so much about. Other students had family members who attended Ouachita, some even through several generations, and they are familiar with the tight-knit community and well-kept grounds. Others still hardly know anything about the university and feel a mix of anticipation and excitement as they tour campus.
Tiger Day, as we now know it, consists of touring campus with admissions counselors and Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) members, sitting-in on classes, potentially meeting with a professor or dean in a student’s area of interest and, of course, taking pictures with the beloved tiger statue. This is not how Tiger Day has always been, though. In fact, Tiger Day was formerly a once-a-year, extravagant event that typically brought in over a thousand high school students.
The first Tiger Day on record was in the spring of 1950. Many different organizations on campus came together to make Tiger Day happen. In the ’50s and ’60s, Tiger Day events would start with registration around 8:30 a.m., and the rest of the day would be jam-packed with fun events as well as campus tours, class observations and dorm viewings. While the events varied slightly from year to year, some of the events included a “Coke Party” (sponsored by the Baptist Student Union), variety shows, outdoor concerts, talent shows, scholarship competitions, a Ouachita baseball game and a movie in the evening.
But the most anticipated event of Tiger Day every year was the crowning of the Tiger Day Queen. The queen was selected from the visiting high school seniors following a presentation by the Ouachita ROTC Brigade. Members of ROTC would escort the candidates, and the university president would then crown the queen at the football stadium.
Tiger Days now are hosted about once a month and typically take up about a half day. Many students on campus today – and many who are now alumni – credit a Tiger Day event for being one of the main reasons they chose to attend Ouachita. Being able to assess what classes are like on campus, seeing campus up close and personal and chatting with current or former students about life here at Ouachita truly makes a difference in the decisions these prospective students make. Tiger Day has always been a key recruiting event for Ouachita, and it will continue to be a great opportunity to help interested students decide if they want to become a “Tiger for Life.”
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