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Being a Scot brings rich and exciting traditions.

Pipe Band

Scots could hardly be Scots without the bagpipes, and the Monmouth College Pipe Band consistently plays among the best. The college awards piping scholarships and recruits student pipers from Chicago, Toronto, Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest who have experience with well known pipe bands. The pipe band plays for nearly every home football game, many parades and processions, as well as competitions and concerts. Perhaps most memorable, they lead the procession of graduating seniors at commencement each year.

First-year Walkout

A parade held in your honor through downtown Monmouth is led by a piper and drummer, where you will join more than 400 first-year students who are greeted by Monmouth merchants. Businesses and organizations welcome students with coupons, refreshments, and gifts. Come home with the menus for your soon-to-be favorite pizza or Chinese restaurant and introductions to the stores and services on which you will rely during college.

Scholars Day

An annual spring observance, honoring the college’s founding, showcasing student talents and celebrating their scholastic achievements. Classes are cancelled to allow students to attend an Honors Convocation, participate in games and competitions, present performances and make scholarly presentations.

Turkey Bowl

Monmouth College played its first football game against neighboring Knox College in 1888, beginning a rivalry that is today the seventh oldest in college football. The annual “Battle for the Bronze Turkey” is so-called because the turkey-shaped trophy originated when the game was annually played on Thanksgiving.

Extraordinary Sports

With participation in football games (including marching band, bagpipe band, cheerleading, dance squads, and broadcasting), water polo, soccer, and many other sports, it is safe to say that half of our students participate directly or indirectly with our athletic programs.

Plus, many of the fans are in study groups with the players or perform community service projects with linebackers. The coaches meet with the sociology or accounting faculty to talk about their students and curricula. Some fans play pick up basketball with the players or work together on class projects.

Sporting events at Monmouth have greater significance because, for us, they are more than simply athletic events. Our approach calls on us to broadly integrate major events into the life of campus. We surround these games with competitive blood drives, food collections, debate tournaments and the like. When we are at our best, wise student leaders, faculty and administrators use hard-fought contests to demonstrate how to compete and then live in harmony with the competition.

During a game you may hear appreciative cheers from the visiting fans for a good play that had no impact on the game’s outcome at the end of a difficult season.

With this good sportsmanship in Division III sports, everyone seems to know everyone else, and by the end of the season and especially the last game of a senior year, there is a wonderful mix of nostalgia, sadness and excitement about next steps. In many ways, that last game of the season — particularly when it is rivalry game— is a final exam for our students and our fellow colleges.

Emotion and energy is high, as it should be. Even with potentially different records, players bring energy and enthusiasm to each play. Rivals compete with respect.

Student fans enjoy competition and differences and demonstrate that rivalries can be characterized by civility and respect. Because we can make that happen first at college, then we can expect our graduates to make it happen around the world.


The weekend starts with a Friday night Spirit Shout. Competitive dance routines by student organizations, shout and banner contests, and introduction of the year’s Homecoming court unfold, and a spectacular display of fireworks end the evening. On Saturday the Homecoming parade floats through town with marching bands and special guests, followed by a Midwest Conference matchup game. 

Greek Life

A vibrant fraternity and sorority life develops friendships as well as students’ leadership and academic strengths. Eight active Greek organizations include more than 300 members, many of whom live in chapter houses on campus. A new Victorian-style house completed in 2010 serves as Alpha Xi Delta’s home. Pi Beta Phi, the first collegiate fraternity for women, was founded on the Monmouth campus in 1867. Kappa Kappa Gamma, another of the earliest women’s fraternities, was also founded here three years later.

Marching Band

The Fighting Scots Marching Band draws talented students from all majors and disciplines to perform at home football games, and fuels spirit at the college. Some Fine Arts Scholarships support students who play in the band, and it is not required to be a music major to be awarded a band scholarship.

Outstanding Debate

Monmouth College’s distinguished reputation for oratory and debate dates to 1880, when a student defeated William Jennings Bryan to win the Illinois Intercollegiate Oratorical Contest. ScotSpeak!, is a combined debate team, Model Illinois Government, Model United Nations and a Quiz Bowl team. Members compete in regional competitions, holding their own tournaments and have hosted debaters from Oxford University. The organization is most active in speech and debate competition.

Read about Monmouth College's history