Benedictine College Traditions

Traditions at Benedictine College

Like every family, the Raven Family has traditions, people, places, events, and activities that make it unique.


This tradition began in October 1928. All new students receive their beanie at the “Beanie Banquet” and they wear it until the Opening Convocation. Students must caw like a raven if they are caught not wearing it. The tradition has become a way for new students to recognize each other and to know for certain when they are no longer “new” — when the beanie comes off.

Alma Mater, “O Lord of Every Blessing”

Composed in 2002 by Dr. Ruth Krusemark '73, Stacy Niedbalski Cope '02, and Andrew Hofer O.P. '94, the Alma Mater is frequently sung at special campus events.

More About the Alma Mater

Fight Song

A campus favorite, the fight song is chanted anywhere there is a gathering of Ravens from athletic events to weddings. The song was composed by Fr. Raphael O’Malley, O.S.B., in 1941.

Listen to the Fight Song

E-I-O Cheer

The E-I-O cheer often follows the Raven Fight Song and is equally as spirited. John Casey ’74, helped popularize the cheer, which was originated by Robert H. “Hammy” Alberts ’39, of Atchison, according to Larry Buessing ’60, and confirmed by Mike Purslow ’62.

The Clinking Tradition

When something hits the floor of the Dining Hall, Benedictine college students start clinking their silverware. This evolved from an old tradition of clinking when a woman came onto the all-male campus.

Rocky the Raven

Depictions of St. Benedict often include the raven. According to legend, the raven prevented St. Benedict from eating poisoned bread. Father Sebastian Weissenberger, O.S.B., first suggested the ‘Ravens’ mascot in 1927. Our trademark mascot is Rocky the Raven, whose birthday is celebrated on December 20.


Mary’s Grotto

Officially dedicated on September 8, 2009, Mary’s Grotto is nestled in a hill in the heart of campus. Modeled after the grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, the Grotto serves as a central location for prayer and is a symbol of Mary’s care and protection over the College.

Raven Memorial Park

Raven Memorial Park honors students who passed away while attending Benedictine College. The memorial includes students spanning from the school’s founding in 1858 until present day. Located in the center of campus, the park features a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, enthroned in 2016. The park includes the Memorial to the Unborn, dedicated by Ravens Respect Life for those Ravens Who Might Have Been, a waterfall and a stone pathway to Mary’s Grotto.

Haverty Gym

The “old gym” was first opened on January 13, 1924. It was the site of Raven basketball games and included the original Pit student cheering section. It was renovated and renamed the Haverty Center in 2003.

Raven Roost

The Raven Roost is located on the first floor of the Haverty Center. In this 1924 building, the Roost unites the past history of the college and its alumni with the lives of our current and future students. The centerpiece of the Raven Roost is the mural titled “The Development of Atchison Around the Benedictine Community” and was done by Anthony Benton Gude, grandson of Thomas Hart Benton as part of the renovation in 2003.

Campus Sign

The current entrance sign to Benedictine College, a popular place for photographs, was placed on campus in 2005. It features the seal of Benedictine College, along with the crests of the school’s predecessors St. Benedict’s College and Mount St. Scholastica College.

Abbey Lookout

The observation point overlooking the Missouri River is “The most peaceful place on earth,” according to a quote by Mildred Ebner enshrined at the site. It is a popular place for students to relax — and has been the site of many Raven marriage proposals over the years.


ROC Week

Formerly known as OMEGA, then in 1998 ROK week, before becoming ROC. Raven Orientation Camp is Benedictine College’s orientation program for all new students. ROC week began in 2001. Beanie Banquet On the last night of ROC week, students attend a special dinner. They receive their beanies in groups after cawing like a raven. Students who have had a relative formerly attend the college are called “Legacy Students” and receive a pin they wear on their beanie.

Academic Convocation

The Convocation is the academic “kick-off” event each year, and it features a speaker of interest to multiple disciplines. At the Convocation, freshmen are welcomed fully into the Raven community when they are invited to remove their beanies.


Both the Abbey and the Mount trace their roots to Benedictines in Bavaria. The first Benedictine College Oktoberfest was held on October 5, 2000. Octoberfest features the tapping of the root beer keg, polka music, Bavarian inspired food, and an original, limited-edition shirt given away to lucky Ravens.

Spooky Science

Benedictine College students invite Atchison children to experience science demonstrations including The Ghost of Einstein, a pumpkin pendulum, a Haunted Chemistry Lab, and much more. The evening also includes face painting, mask making, and plenty of popcorn, cupcakes, and candy.

Beard Season

Beard season takes place from November 1 through February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day. It is in honor of the impressive beard of the Abbey’s first leader, Abbot Innocent Wolf. This tradition began in 2001. Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Wurtz is a frequent participant.

Mission Trips

Every year Benedictine College sends students across the country and to remote areas of the world in order to serve others during Spring Break and Fall Mission Week. More than 15 percent of the student body fundraises and travels to 13 countries on five continents, as well as serving domestically.

Jam for the Lamb

Jam for the Lamb is a student musical talent show that occurs on the last weekend before finals in the fall and the spring. It began in fall 2001.

Spring Formal

The Spring Formal takes place off-campus and includes a banquet dinner and an evening of dancing. In the 1930s–'40s the event was called Spring Prom, not taking up its current title until 1986. The event was moved off campus in 1989.

March of Light

Students participate in the bookend traditions of two “March of Light” candle processions to the Grotto. As freshmen, they take a class picture in their beanies around the Haverty “B,” then they are greeted by faculty and staff as they carry a candle to the Grotto on the way to the Opening School Mass. As graduates, they partake in the March of Light ceremony as they process to the Baccalaureate Mass.