It was an epic class battle of sorts each year. Could the seniors sneak off campus without the juniors finding out? It was the tradition of the Senior Sneak, right here at Eastern.
The Senior Sneak was a yearly event, adopted from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The first college sneak was in October of 1953, the destinations being Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C. According to Eastern’s historian and archivist, Dr. Frederick Boehlke’s book Faith, Reason and Justice: The First 50 Years at Eastern, the sneak became a tradition of whether or not the seniors could escape off campus without the juniors finding out where they were going.
According to Eastern’s attendance policy, students were only allowed a certain amount of class cuts per semester. If all the seniors could get together and sneak away from campus at the same time without the juniors finding out when or where they were going, the absence from campus wouldn’t count as a cut.
In 1967, Eastern’s own Chairman of the Board of Trustees Donald Gough was a junior and eager to foil the senior plan to conduct a successful Senior Sneak. He and his cohorts thought that they had the information that would lead them to the seniors in Maryland, but found out that they were very wrong. As it turns out, the seniors were miles away in Virginia making Gough and his accomplices the brunt of many jokes to come.
Gough said in a phone interview that the juniors would track down which seniors were in charge of organizing the trip and try and dig up as much information as possible to use as clues. During his Senior Sneak to the Poconos, they planted information for the juniors to find to lead them to an alternative destination. Two years in a row the juniors ruined it for the seniors. Gough’s class was the first after that to successfully sneak away.
From Gough’s experience with the senior sneak, the time away from campus was a good old time as a class. Eastern then was smaller than Eastern is now, with only 50 to 70 students participating in the Senior Sneak. “It created a sense of community as a senior class during our final year,” Gough said.
Although this is a tradition that faded in the 1970s due to the increase in size, these memories gave Eastern the reputation of close community that it has always been known for and will be recognized for in the years to come.