Beginning in 1855, the Kenyon Reveille, the school’s yearbook, provided a detailed account of Kenyon’s unique culture: From the progression of Kenyon’s clubs and athletic teams to the tracking of important events and traditions to featuring beloved faculty members, the Reveille once served as a physical manifestation of Kenyon campus life.
The Reveille, which holds the title of Kenyon’s longest-running student publication, halted its production in 2014 due to a lack of student interest. It had yet to make a return until this year, when three seniors, Bradley Berklich ’22, Rebecca Lawson ’22 and Giulia Cancro ’22, decided they wanted to bring back the yearbook as a way to remember their time at Kenyon. They wanted to add to the many editions of the Reveille that have allowed for members of the Kenyon community to observe the changes in school traditions and experience since the yearbook’s founding in the 1850s.
Cancro, Berklich and Lawson had talked about starting the Reveille during their sophomore year because they were all passionate about yearbooks, but things got sidetracked due to the pandemic. Being back on campus together, the three were finally able to begin working towards their goal right in time for their final year on campus.
Reflecting on the past year and a half, Berklich believes the Class of 2022 in particular could benefit from a yearbook. “We wanted to bring the Reveille back because we’re all a bunch of nerds who really like yearbooks and the history of Kenyon. It’s been a really hard couple of years, especially for the senior class graduating right now. A yearbook could help give the campus a sense of unity,” Berklich said.
But despite the decline in interest just a few years back, student support for the yearbook has begun to rise. Berklich has received interest from over 50 students, including those interested in photography, copy editing and general design.
Berklich emphasized that the Reveille functions as a miniature archive where students can learn about the rich history of the groups and communities they belong to. “A yearbook can create a tangible, physical link to the past, and help students realize that what they do now contributes to the nearly 200-year history of Kenyon College,” he said. “They are part of a long lineage of students slowly changing Kenyon for the better, and that work should be celebrated.”
In recent years, many students have turned to smartphones as a way of documenting their experience. However, Lawson believes there is something additional that the Reveille can offer. “I think yearbooks are a phenomenal way to capture what life was like at a specific point in time,” she said. “There’s just something about having a concrete compilation of memories I can hold in my hand that social media just can’t replace.”
Looking through the archives of the yearbook, past traditions and special events come to light; for example, the Class of 1991 hosted a formal dance called Philander’s Phling, which lasted as a Kenyon tradition for the next 20 years.
Cancro wants to document the unique experience of the Class of 2022. “Having something to look back on upon our departure not only for current students, but for the students who will attend the College 50 years from now, is heartwarming and special,” Cancro said.