In 1914, the organizers of the first Alumni Parade called upon alumni of a much younger Bates College to create a “program of merrymaking” with a “historico-humorous parade of classes."
Gathering on the walkway between the Class of 1929 Gate and Hathorn Hall, the 2017 Alumni Parade followed its usual route: around the north side of Hathorn Hall, onto the Alumni Walk, and by the Presidential Reviewing Stand. It concluded next to Garcelon Field for the Annual Gathering of the Alumni Association, featuring President Clayton Spencer’s Reunion Address and the presentation of alumni awards.
The tradition of each class adopting a theme and carrying signs dates to the very first parade in 1914, when the classes were urged to celebrate “historical incidents associated with the development of Bates, illustrated soberly or unsoberly” plus “things you did, wise or otherwise” — all of which “may well be carried on large cards or any other way.”
The parade leaves the Historic Quad and arrives on Alumni Walk, where it passes by the reviewing stand, where the marchers are greeted by President Clayton Spencer, Alumni Association President Lisa Romeo, and members of the college's senior staff.