Political science department keeps watch over time-honored tradition

“Old Blue” always strikes 10:15 in the political science department. After nearly 100 years as a university, LU has its fair share of lore. One particularly charming (and recently established) tale involves a broken clock, which once hung in Room 113 of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Building.

According to the Department of Political Science, there are few known details about this particular Lamar University story of lore. What is known is that it began in 2002, when the department moved from its former location in the Maes building to its current location in the Social & Behavioral Sciences Building.

Soon, Room 113 became the preferred classroom for upper-division courses and student organization meetings. Due to its popularity, the room’s faceless and barren walls needed a clock. Thus, the department chair at that time, professor Glenn Utter, purchased a timepiece for the space. Dr. Christina Gregory

Ultimately, it stopped — though no one knows for sure when its hand reached 10:15, where it would stay to this day. However, there was no cause for alarm. No one did anything about it. For 13 years, “Old Blue,” as she would come to be known, hung in Room 113, with time forever stopped at 10:15 — that is, until 2015.

Eventually, the students in American Constitutional Law decided to purchase a new clock for the room; however, they couldn’t face the thought of just throwing away “Old Blue.” Thus, the Pre-Law Society began a time-honored tradition that continues to this day: “The Keeper of the Clock” — an honor handed off to a faculty member every year.

Chosen by the society and the senior members of Pi Sigma Alpha during the annual Pi Sigma Alpha and Pre-Law Society’s reception, a professor is named “Keeper of the Clock.”

This year, Dr. Christina Gregory, assistant professor of political science, will be the face of this delightful Lamar University tradition.

“I first heard about the ‘Keeper of the Clock’ when a friend in the department mentioned that Dr. Nelson was the current (and I believe the longest running) winner of the award,” Gregory said. “‘The Keeper of the Clock’ is a faculty member the students select to honor with ‘Old Blue.’ How they decide is top secret (at least to me!) and the faculty finds out at our end-of-year awards ceremony.”

Being the timepiece’s keeper comes with one responsibility (that’s not particularly time-consuming): keep watch of “Old Blue” until next year’s ceremony, Gregory said.

“I find it a charming tradition and am honored they chose me since this is only my first year at Lamar University,” the assistant professor said. “It’s fun, at least from my perspective, to see the students announce their selection and I hope it is fun for them, too.”

It may not be Lamar University’s longest-running tradition, but it certainly has stood the test of time for the students and faculty of the political science department that continue to carry on “Old Blue’s” legacy.