A welcome letter from your editors

Krysta Huber, Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder, and Hannah Howard

Dear readers:
For those of you here in Lexington, we’d like to welcome you back for the 2015-2016 academic year. The original intent of this letter was to introduce ourselves as the three senior editors of the newest Ring-tum Phi staff and to outline a number of goals and plans we have for the year ahead.

But after an interesting conversation with an alumnus celebrating his 60-year reunion in Lexington last week, we came up with a better idea for our introduction: to share with our readers, both old and new, what The Ring-tum Phi means.

And no, we don’t want to get philosophical on you. We’re talking about the actual definition of our publication’s title.

The Phi has been around for more than 100 years and is likely one of the longest-running sources that documents both W&L past and W&L present.

It was slightly embarrassing to admit to a 1955 W&L graduate that we honestly had no knowledge of the history of our publication’s name. We promised to look into it and report back. We’d like to share our findings with all of you.

We stumbled upon the answer almost by accident. Looking through old copies in our office on the third floor of University Commons last week, we noticed an article in a 2004 issue of the paper, titled, “What the hell’s a Ring-tum Phi.” The piece is a reprint from a Phi issue printed on Dec. 5, 1967. We’ve included an excerpt of that reprint.

What the hell’s a Ring-tum Phi

The true story of the University’s only

official weekly publication. Song and all.

“Back in the days when telephones (all 68 of them in Lexington, an advertisement boasted) were known as “up-to-date electric call bells,” back when stealing a bell-clapper was called a “naughty-one’s frolic,” in the same year that the New York Post conferred on this city (really) the title “Athens of South” – there came into being a little newspaper published weekly, “by the students for the Washington and Lee University community,” and named after the most popular of that University’s football cheers: “Ring-tum Phi.””

So for everyone wondering along with us what the hell a “Ring-tum Phi” is, there’s your answer: a made-up phrase that is both unique to W&L and rooted in the sense of tradition so strongly carried throughout this university.

Although our name may be dedicated to an old football cheer, we ensure you our paper will keep you up-to-date on all the campus news.

We’d also like to emphasize that we’re a student-run newspaper. We want to hear from you, the students. If you feel strongly about an issue on our campus, we encourage you to write a letter to the editor so your voice can be heard.