Fox Day: Beautiful weather cancels classes at Rollins College

Annual tradition began in 1956

People posing with the fox statue, as seen on Rollins College's "Fox Cam" Thursday, April 6, 2023. (Rollins College)

WINTER PARK, Fla. – In the school’s most beloved tradition, Rollins College students were encouraged to spend Thursday having fun out of class as President Grant Cornwell proclaimed it Fox Day, “a day too beautiful to have class.”

Each year, the president of Rollins College picks a day in the spring to give students a surprise break to enjoy the weather, usually in March or April. With the exception of an anticlimactic 1962 and a seven-year suspension in the 1970s under President Jack Critchfield due to the turbulence of the times, according to Rollins, it’s something that students at the college have been able to look forward to for the last going-on-67 years.

You may recall that Fox Day 2022 also fell on April 6, but it’s best to think of it almost like roulette, as far as how good your chances are of predicting the next one.

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Rollins President Hamilton Holt in 1934 acquired and put on display a statue of a fox and another of a cat on campus, the latter being “smashed beyond repair” in an unsolved 1949 crime, according to the college. The statues were the inspiration for a women’s “Cat Society” and men’s “Fox Society” at the college, but as only one remained, President Hugh McKean in 1956 decided to place the fox outside, cancel the day’s classes and invite students to spend the day “doing things as a college,” marking the first Fox Day.

But, about the April 6 thing.

Since the tradition began under McKean — having to be resurrected by students in 1958 due to popular demand — Fox Day 2023 is the sixth time that the day off has been declared on the same date as the one immediately before it:

  • 1966-67: May 18, President Hugh McKean
  • 1989-90: April 13, President Thaddeus Seymour
  • 1998-99: April 20, President Rita Bornstein
  • 2002-03: April 11, President Rita Bornstein
  • 2006-07: April 11, President Lewis Duncan

Rollins College began a livestream of the statue in the morning, with a table of free food not far from students taking pictures all around. According to the day’s schedule of events, those would have been the “6:40 a.m. Donuts at Tars Plaza.”

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.