On Lance Haynes’ first day as an assistant professor of speech and media studies back in 1984, his colleagues took him to lunch in the old University Center-East cafeteria. As they walked across campus, Haynes noticed students walking around in green jackets, which seemed unusual in such warm weather.
The students appeared to be well-respected by their peers – part of an elite group – and Haynes thought to himself, “I want to be a part of that.”
It took him 12 years, but he made it.
Haynes is only the fourth faculty advisor in the history of the St. Pat’s Committee. (Note the Roman numeral IV in his jacket’s shamrock in the photo above.) To him, St. Pat’s is an essential part of UMR’s history.
“I strongly believe that a great institution needs great traditions,” Haynes says. “Yale has the Order of the Skull and Bones and Harvard has the Hasty Pudding Club. St. Pat’s is UMR’s unique equivalent.”
In addition to providing adult guidance to the students on the committee, Haynes’ wide-ranging duties include serving as a public advocate for St. Pat’s. “I love to tell the story of St. Pat’s,” he says.
The story begins with tradition born of mischief and rebellion, but it has evolved into something that gives committee members a sense of camaraderie and teaches them business skills, entrepreneurship,
time management and responsibility. Haynes tells that story to UMR faculty, staff and students, the community, alumni, and past, current, and future St. Pat’s Committee members.
Of all his duties, Haynes treasures the student interaction. “I believe I work with the finest group of young adults on campus,” he says.
Beginning each March, Haynes follows the students through a snake invasion, then a week-long campus celebration. And of course, the parade.
The annual St. Pat’s Parade is the most public portion of the celebration. A typical parade day begins at 3 a.m. for Haynes. That is when he travels to an “undisclosed location” to check on the mixing of
the paint that will soon coat Pine Street. From there, he gathers with alumni committee representatives for a traditional biscuits-and-gravy breakfast – again at an undisclosed location.
By 7 a.m., mops have been distributed and street painting begins. Haynes has participated in past years, but now he is content to join senior alumni reps in a leisurely stroll well behind the action. (See the story on page 15 for more on street painting.) When the streets (and the street painters) are sufficiently coated, St. Pat’s alumni gather at the Grotto – the Pine Street basement bar known through the years by names like Brewsters and the Mine Shaft – while the active members begin the work of lining up floats and other participants. From there, Haynes begins to shuttle Honorary Knights to the annual breakfast sponsored by the MSM-UMR Alumni Association and then on to Russell’s Town and College Shop for any last-minute alterations to their traditional Kelly green attire. By the start of the parade, Haynes can always be found on the back of the manure spreader as the St. Pat’s Court rides in the parade.
Many people believe a love of green beer is a requirement for involvement in the St. Pat’s Committee, but Haynes disagrees. “It’s not necessary, but sometimes advisable.”
Haynes’ biggest hope for the March 2008 100th St. Pat’s celebration is to establish an annual retreat where alumni reps can meet with the committee’s baby reps (students in their first year on the committee) to impart their wisdom.
“This will give us a sense of how everything fits together.” Haynes says. “We have 100 years of St. Pat’s history coming down at once.”