While many Centre College traditions date back to the College’s founding, thanks to the College’s Lincoln statue, current students have begun a new practice that could become a long-lasting tradition.
“Lucky Lincoln,” as it’s named, involves students placing pennies—face up, of course—on the boots of the Lincoln statue before tests or important events for good luck.
C.J. Donald ’14 has taken place in the “Lucky Lincoln” tradition since the early days of its manifestation.
“I actually began placing pennies on Lincoln’s foot because, during a meeting, I heard that other students were putting pennies near Lincoln for good luck,” Donald says. “I happened to have my first test of the term the next day, so I tried it that night. I tweeted about my visit at the statue, and very soon after that, there was an explosion of pennies around Lincoln’s feet.”
Even the Centre Lincoln Twitter account—supposedly managed by the statue itself—is in on the tradition, tweeting during the Fall semester, “Why do people keep dropping pennies on my foot? #keepyourchange.”
Who began the new tradition is unknown, but it has caught on with many students.
“I don’t know how it started, it’s just one of those things that started and took on a life of its own,” says Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations. “It seems to be a favorite campus tradition in very short order.”
Donald thinks the “Lucky Lincoln” tradition caught on because it gives students a common experience and helps incorporate the new statue into the nature of campus life at Centre.
“I think that placing a penny on ‘Our Lincoln’ has become a tradition because it’s fun. It’s another thread that helps tie Centre students together. We as students are diverse with respect to our interests and backgrounds, so something such as this gives everyone a chance to be a direct participant on their own accord,” Donald says. “Plus, our imposing statue of the 16th President of the United States has quickly become a part of the fabric of our campus. I studied at the base of the statue during Family Weekend, and many families stopped to talk about the statue and take pictures in front of it.”
Word of the “Lucky Lincoln” tradition has spread quickly—even beyond the bounds of Centre’s campus.
“I took President Alan Hurwitz of Gallaudet University and his wife on a tour of campus with a faculty member from KSD who knew about the tradition—he brought pennies so that Dr. and Mrs. Hurwitz could put a penny on Lincoln’s boot for good luck,” Trollinger says.
The “Lucky Lincoln” tradition is likely to stay, thanks to Centre’s deep commitment to its traditions, both new and old.
“I think that because Centre has enjoyed such rich history, we all really enjoy myths and traditions that tie us to the past,” says Donald. “Traditions such as not stepping on the Seal until graduation and planning Flame Runs are things that are fun and unique. Those things make Centre more than just an educational institution; they make Centre our home.”
By Elizabeth Trollinger