March Thru the Arch

Swanson Arch stands at the edge of campus, welcoming students as they enter campus life and sending them out into the professional world upon graduation. At the beginning of the Fall semester and at just prior to Commencement in the Spring, students join in the annual tradition, ceremoniously walking through the arch.

Event Details

March thru the Arch - New Student Welcome, will take place at 5 pm, on Sunday, August 21st, 2016 at Swanson Arch and Reed Gym.


In 2000, former ISU Alumni Director Valorie Watkins created "March Thru the Arch" to welcome incoming students every fall into the ISU family. Additionally, as part of Commencement every year "March Thru the Arch- Sr. Salute" was created to symbolize completion of the student's ISU education and re-entry of the graduates into the world, leaving ISU.

Swanson Arch was part of the original Swanson Hall built in 1903 and was the first building at the Academy of Idaho- the predecessor of ISU. It was named after Theodore Swanson who was a member of the original board of trustees. Swanson Hall was originally known as "Old Ad" as it served initially as the Administration Building as well as classrooms for Liberal Arts classes.

Swanson Hall, constructed of stone and brick with no structural steel and a lava rock foundation, was topped with a huge Gothic roof. It was condemned and razed in 1973. However, after a rigorous campaign by another former Alumni Director and ISU Historian, Diane Olson, the entry arch was preserved as a monument. Thousands of students have passed through this arch which preserves a major part of Idaho State University's history.


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