History and Traditions

Our History and Traditions Run Deep

Army and Navy Academy Senior LawnAll notable schools have a grand history and great sense of tradition, and Army and Navy Academy is no exception.

Since its founding in 1910, our Cadets have felt loyalty to our nation’s institutions of military leadership and training. Our country has been proud of the five service academies and the contributions they have made in the development of our nation. From the founding of the first military training school in 1802, the United States Military Academy also known as West Point, to the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy in 1954, Army and Navy Academy has inculcated their values, traditions and sense of duty to one’s community and nation. Tradition plays an important part in our Cadets’ educational endeavors and accomplishments.

The students of Army and Navy Academy tend to view any continuing practice as a tradition, regardless of how long it has been in effect. The words “custom” and “tradition” are often used interchangeably, but there are differences with regard to the time of a particular practice. It is commonly accepted that customs are short lived and simple habits, whereas traditions are passed from one generation to another. A tradition may be a past practice with a length of 25 years or more.

The overseer of the history, traditions, and customs of the Army and Navy Academy is the School President.

The following material outlines the school’s longer-term traditions:

Senior Class Ring

Senior Class RingThere is no more emblematic symbol of a school’s history than its Senior Class Ring, proudly worn by students and alumni in the United States to commemorate their attendance and graduation.

The tradition of the class ring originated with the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) Class of 1835. At Army Navy, the Senior Class Ring represents the accomplishment of the wearer and symbolizes a lifetime bond to the Academy. The manner in which the ring is received, presented, and worn is all part of the historic transformation of the wearer from a young man to Alumnus of one of the finest college preparatory schools in this nation.

Senior Garden, Well and Lawn

Senior GardenThe most coveted possession of the First Class (Senior Class) is the Lawn which is adjacent to the Rose Garden. This location was part of the Red Apple Inn which, in 1936, became the Davis Military Academy. This was the short-lived name of the school during the transition period when the school moved from the San Diego campus.

As the school settled into this new facility in Carlsbad, the Senior Class took over the area next to the Inn which had become the main building on campus. The Class of 1937 started the tradition of exercising control over this area of the campus. It soon became known as the Senior Garden. As it was reported by an alumnus of that era, this area first taken over by the seniors included the gate, the small garden, and the wishing well. The tradition required that only Seniors and their guests were allowed in this area of the campus.

In 1976, records show that exclusive use of the north lawn became a formal senior tradition. The Class of 1976 had a molded concrete plaque which was presented to the Academy and this lawn became known as the “Senior Lawn.” The Class of 1996 established a standard procedure to protect and to perpetuate the customs of the Senior Lawn from one First Class to the next at year’s end during the school’s commencement.

Dedication of the Adjutant

Dedication of the AdjutantThe oldest known tradition and privilege of the First Class (Senior Class) is the dedication of the annual yearbook. The oldest yearbook of record is The Cadet of 1914. The inscription in that yearbook reads “The Class of 1914 dedicates this book to their friend and advisor, Dr. N.A.N. Cleven.” Based on this inscription and the long history of the yearbook, dedications shall be a privilege of the First Class.

Later the yearbook became known as the Adjutant. The procedures for nomination of a person to be honored for this distinction shall be determined by the members of the First Class each year.

Preserving our History

Many thanks to those who have assisted us in compiling the history for the Centennial Celebration. A special thank you to alumni Alexander Mui ’08 and John Burden ’63, and to former parent Pete Zoschak.

If you would like to help uncover more of the Academy’s history or if you can provide us with updated information, please contact the Academy by email.

Join fellow Cadets, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Friends in piecing together the Academy’s rich legacy and traditions, and as we work toward our future goals as outlined in our Strategic Plan:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Financial Growth
  • Campus Modernization & Environmental Sustainability
  • Workplace of Choice
  • Community Engagement

Warrior Proud! Warrior Strong!

Prepared by: John Burden, Class of 1963
Original material was written by Lieutenant Colonel Steven Miller, Past President of ANA.