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Astonishing Tradition at Hanover College

Changing the course of the river would provide the campus with beautiful sunsets every day of the year.

Apparently, The Onion would have had nothing on the Hanover College student newspaper staff in 1934. A four-page “April Fool’s” publication called the Hanover Astonisher likely was a substitute edition of the Hanover Triangle, is filled with prank articles that appear to poke fun at just about every official on campus, and several others.

Headlines announce stories including:

PESTILENCE SWEEPS COLLEGE—Contagion Fails to End Classes for Next Week

MIGHTY PROJECT PLANNED—Martin Suggests Radical Change in River Course; Professor lists ten benefits to be gained by work. “Dr. R. Earl Martin, leading physicist on the campus and also head of the Physics department in Hanover made his bid for immortality among the Hanover profs by advocating a drastic change in the course of the Ohio river as it passes the campus.” Complete with this photo!

A tad sexist, but it was the 1930s ...

Then, readers were invited to join the fun. “We furnish headlines, you furnish stories” or “… timely topics that should not go neglected” included the following—“Love Nest Raided, Cops Jail Fourteen” and “Basketball Team Wallops Purdue.”

March 28, 1934

Then there was this gem buried on Page 3:

Dillinger Enrolls in Hanover College

Accomplished Young Man to Seek Higher Education

“Despite the rumors as to the whereabouts of John Dillinger, who recently withdrew from the Crown Point City College, the Astonisher with its usual thoroughness has obtained definite information that Johnny is planning to enroll in Hanover at the earliest possible moment.

In preparation for the appearance of Mr. Dillinger, Dr. Burger has most kindly moved the school safe to his private home where he feels it will be out of the way if John decides to use his office for a study room.

The expected enrollment of this accomplished young man is due entirely to the untiring efforts of Dr. Kutz, who had considerable trouble in contacting him due to Dillinger’s failure to leave a forwarding address during his several moves.

Dr. Kutz reports that Johnny was almost sold on the idea of attending Michigan City University until the professor, with his usual direct, unfaltering salesmanship, assured Mr. Dillinger that the spirit of the competition at Hanover would undoubtedly prove a greater stimulus to him to achieve honors in his chosen field than the competition at Michigan City. Also, Dr. Kutz assured him that there was, in a minor degree, a little more freedom at Hanover than at the northern institution.

With the intimation by Dr. Kutz that Dillinger intended to add to his already overgrown list of petty crimes by joining a fraternity, practically every fraternity on the campus immediately dispatched rush letters. The advantage of having Johnny as a fraternity brother seems to lie in the fact that Brother Dillinger with his many talents would have little trouble getting girls into the dorm after the doors were locked.”

April 1, 1947

This issue was called Das Rats’-Angle, touting itself as “Yellow Journalism at its Best” and sporting a laurel with a swastika nestled inside on either side of the newspaper’s title. Imagine the uproar that must have come up with that idea.

April 1, 1973,

This issue was dubbed The Square (as opposed to the college paper’s actual name, The Triangle) and touted itself “Since 1909, the Campus Joke.”

It’s top story: “Conditions set for coed living in two units,” in which Barbara Quilling, dean of women, and Glen Bonsett, dean of men, were lauded with the moniker “The Deans Quonsett,” impressed the fact that this new living-quarters idea does have the word “education” in it, and thus the goal would be to “educationally shape the lifestyles of its students.”

The story ends: “The Deans Quonsett have resolved this difficulty [selecting the resident leaders for each unit] by agreeing to serve as the Resident Deans. Dean Quilling was quoted as saying, “If there’s going to be anything going on over there, I want to be in on it.”

And in sports that issue, The Square reported that kite-flying would be added to the college’s athletic department. The arena would include a stretch of ground alongside the athletic complex, complete with 10 large fans arranged to provide “tricky cross-currents and hidden air pockets” to make the competition more exciting.

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