“Old” Skegee versus “New” Skegee

‘You’re #OldSkegee if…’

All this debate about who qualifies as “Old” Skegee” vs. “New” Skegee has created a storm of conversations on social media platforms engaging Tuskegee University alumni, current students and many others. It seems nearly impossible to track down who started this whole thing.

Facebook and Twitter conversations starting with ‘If you remember…’ often end in ‘#oldskegee.’ Similarly, conversations that begin with ‘If you’ve never…’ normally end in ‘#newskegee.’

Old is Institute, New is University

Some alumni are pointing fingers at Benjamin F. Payton, the University’s fifth president, who changed Tuskegee “Institute” to “University” in 1985. However, this offers no further explanation of how people identify themselves with the old or new, which is highly entertaining btw.

If your freshmen year started after 2013, most would consider you new ‘Skegee’ because you did not, (nor did you want to), experience Chambliss Hall (the current band hall), as the cafeteria. When Tompkins Hall was finally renovated on October 18, 2013 campus life reverted but not exactly to normal.

Tompkins Hall was bigger in square footage but smaller in its importance for students to meet for more than one reason. Everyone had to eat, but not everyone had a meal plan. Many upperclassmen claimed it was cheaper to live off-campus and commute to class. Increasingly more freshmen had cars, as the ‘no vehicles the first year on-campus’ rule died off. Oh! And social media helped us feel like we had better things to do every step of the way.

Social Media Changed Our Lives

MySpace was released in 2003

Facebook in 2004

YouTube in 2005

Instagram in 2010

Snapchat in 2011

If you can stand the thought, imagine what life would be like without a cell phone. Cell phones have become a prized possession filled with guilty pleasures like social media platforms. Social media has forever changed society and how we view life. Gone are the days where we show up to a place without knowing beforehand what was happening inside. Who cares to meet face-to-face anymore when there’s video chat? We can literally get a virtual experience of almost anything in the palm of our hands now. Who needs to search “The Stacks” of books for information in the library when we can just Google it? These are things that old ‘Skegee cannot relate to.

On the flipside, new ‘Skegee’ cannot relate to the time when looking forward to what was happening, was the best part of the full experience.

Do we feel some type of way?

Are we mad that our experiences were different? Honestly, would we want the same thing over and over again? Unless we are talking about the pause in “Ball N’ Parlay” or fried chicken on Wednesdays or all Greek organizations on The Yard (no pun intended), I doubt it.

President Obama showed us the beauty of change, whether people wanted it or not when he was elected in 2008. Then, Tuskegee University showed social media how to “turn up” in his honor, twice.

Let’s all be proud of…

Here are things we all probably wish we experienced, if we did not, and are extremely proud of:

  • April 3, 1902 – the Tuskegee colors: crimson and gold were adopted
  • May 1902 – “The Tuskegee Song” was first sung at commencement
  • In 1910 – Tompkins Hall was completed
  • In 1917 – Tuskegee celebrated the First Founder’s Day
  • October 10, 1925 – the first official Homecoming was held at the new stadium constructed at a cost of $50,000
  • April 1, 1943 – dedication of Moton Field
  • In 1956 – Mildred McDaniel (Campus and World Champion) set the high jump record in the Olympic Track and Field Competition at Melbourne, Australia
  • Class of 86’  –is the last to “Walk the Water” as a rite of passage at the fountain that is no longer present on The Yard
  • November 4, 2008 –Tuskegee celebrates Obama being elected as the 44th POTUS
  • November 6, 2012 – Tuskegee celebrates Obama being re-elected
  • May 09, 2015 – First Lady, Michelle Obama is the Class of 2015’s Commencement Speaker

Whether you side with “Old” Skegee or “New” Skegee, the truth is that for many generations Tuskegee University has cultivated bright minds, preparing students to take bold steps towards Living The Dream.