From the annual St. Olaf Christmas festival which brings five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra together that exemplifies the vibrant musical community on St. Olaf’s campus while welcoming thousands of alumni and concert-goer’s each year, to Homecoming week with the football game and annual King of the Hill competition, to sledding in the winter down Old Main Hill on trays borrowed from our singular campus dining hall, it’s obvious that traditions are one thing that make St. Olaf stand out from other colleges.
Founded in 1874 by Norwegian, Lutheran immigrants, St. Olaf College’s name was anything but random. Both a tip of the hat to St. Olaf’s Norwegian heritage and an expression of its deep-rooted connection to the Christian faith, the name “St. Olaf” was chosen after Olav II Haraldsson (originally spelled “Olaf”), the patron saint and eternal king of Norway. Though St. Olaf is known for its strong Scandinavian studies programs and world-renowned music groups, such as the St. Olaf Band, Choir, and Orchestra, St. Olaf is also known for its unique liberal arts tradition and study abroad programs (such as the St. Olaf Global Semester, 43 years and counting).
Whether it’s Hawaiian night in Stav Dining hall where a kiddie pool full of ice cream ready to be eaten can be found, the annual outdoor opera every spring, or intramural broomball competition that happens every January, St. Olaf students have a clear passion for continuing the traditions of those who have come before them.