It was a celebration 50 years in the making. Switlik Hall, one of Rider’s original residence halls, celebrated its 50th birthday on Tuesday, April 26, with a barbecue, a fountain of molten chocolate and a birthday cake bearing the image of Switty Switlik, the building’s official mascot, courtesy of Fedora Café of Lawrenceville.
The building, which opened in 1961 to house resident students in the midst of Rider’s migration from Trenton, remains a source of pride to its current residents, who turned out in force to celebrate the semicentennial celebration on the lawn outside the building. Josh Chave, residence director of Switlik Hall, admitted the planning committee was somewhat uncertain of Switlik’s precise opening date, but that it wouldn’t have altered their plans much.
“We wanted to wait until it was warm enough outside to draw a crowd,” Chave said. “If we scheduled the celebration too early, it would’ve been too cold.”
Their pragmatic approach paid off, as the warm weather provided the perfect setting to commemorate a half century of Switlik. The centerpiece of the party was the cake, which featured a likeness of Switty Switlik, the cartoonish mascot of Switlik Hall reminiscent of “Rocky” from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
A popular symbol of Switlik pride, Switty emerged a number of years ago during the annual Battle of the Buildings event, and has since become a fixture in the dormitory.
“The Battle of the Building teams were called the Switlik Squirrels, and Switty became the mascot,” Chave explained. Now, he’s everywhere – every room has Switty on the door. He’s even got his own Facebook page.”
Switlik Hall is named for Stanley Switlik, owner of the Switlik Parachute Co. of Trenton, who received the honorary Doctor of Science at Rider’s Commencement in 1954.