Ra Ra Brunonia: Gates


Who’s down to learn about some gates?! After another brief hiatus, Ra Ra Brunonia is back and better than ever (yes, I have said this before!)! As a member of the Ivy League, Brown is forced to conform to a strict gate policy: in order to proceed onto a grass-covered quadrangle, a student must walk through/beneath a gate. This policy is strictly enforced, as evidenced by this…and this…and this.

Let me just establish this up front: Brown loves gates. We walk through the Van Wickle Gates during our first week on campus, we run through the John Nicholas Brown gate when late to our American Legal and Constitutional History lecture, we even have an eatery explicitly named The Gate. Gates are to Brown as Gail is to the Ratty; you absolutely cannot separate the two.

We begin with the most regal of gates at Brown—The Van Wickle Gates. Located at the top of College Street, the Van Wickle Gate has been a staple of the Brown campus since 1901. Named after Augustus Stout Van Wickle, who was incidentally killed in a skeet shooting accident (Ed.-seriously?), the Van Wickle Gates are only fully opened twice a year: towards campus during Convocation and towards downtown Providence during Commencement. It is traditional that seniors doff their caps as the pass beneath the Van Wickle Gates after graduation. As a side note, Augustus Stout Van Wickle also donated a fence and gate to Princeton University—the man truly loved gates. 

Continuing on our gate tour of Brown, the Class of 1887 Gate is a magnificent specimen located near Hope College. While sort of the odd man out in the ‘Brown gate scene,’ the Class of ’87 Gate does its part to protect Main Green from the terrors of Waterman Street. Come spring, we don’t want Del’s Lemonade trying to infringe upon Faunce House. (That would not be chill.) Built in 1903, the Class of 1887 Gate is a bit more ‘casual’ than some of the other gates. It tries not to be too flashy and relies more on Theodore Francis Green’s inscribed verse in order to compete. It’s a pretty sick gate—I suggest you check it out.

Another prominent gate on the Brown campus is the John Nicholas Brown gate, located on the periphery of the Main Green near the most confusing/dangerous intersection of all time (you know what I’m talking about). Often pictured in the admission pamphlets for Brown, the John Nicholas Brown Gate was dedicated in December of 1903 (1903 was a great year for gates) and formally opened by John Nicholas Brown’s widow and four-year-old son. According to Encyclopedia Brunoniana, the young boy was dressed in a white fur coat and large white hat that barely covered his ‘luscious blonde locks.’ Definitely a look quite reminiscent of this music video. When laying the cornerstone for the gate, the boy enthusiastically exclaimed, “Rah, rah, rah, Brown!” More like Ra Ra Brunonia, am I right?! Check back next week for another edition of Ra Ra Brunonia…actually though.

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