Class & Charter: The 411 on this year's performer

By Maura Colley '19

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What are we celebrating when we celebrate Class and Charter Day? For most students, it is a day of festivities because classes are ending and summer is starting. It is one of two days in the academic year that big-name musical artists come to campus to perform. But there’s more to it than that. 

The day not only celebrates the last day of spring classes, but also honors the charter of Hamilton College on May 26, 1812. The very first Class and Charter Day took place in the spring of 1950, when President Robert W. McEwen had the idea to merge Class Day (the celebration of the classes ending) with Charter Day (the commemoration of Hamilton’s founding). Turns out we have more to thank President McEwen for than just a dining hall on the dark side of campus. It’s because of him that we have a day dedicated strictly to celebration and fun. 

Traditionally, Class and Charter Day has included a host of outdoor activities, games and competitions for students to compete in. One of the main functions of the day is also an awards ceremony to honor students who have excelled in their studies and community involvement. Every year there are over a hundred awards and scholarships, including prizes in all academic departments, public speaking and for writing. 

In addition, every year Class and Charter day features a speaker, usually an alumnus, historian, or trustee, who gives an address about Hamilton College. These convocations are held in the Chapel, of course, and are historically important to the day. 

Of course, the Class and Charter Day that we know and love today wouldn’t be complete without a major musical guest. In the past, big names including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have come to campus to perform. 

Last year Time Flies gave a great performance despite unfavorable weather conditions. CAB recently announced, however, that this year’s musical performer will be none other than Lupe Fiasco.

But who is Lupe Fiasco again? Some guy from the 2000’s, right? Never fear, Hamilton, if you don’t know who Lupe Fiasco is, we’ve got you covered. All you really need to know is that his music is fun, you’ll probably remember the words to his songs (even though you didn’t even know you knew them), and that regardless, as long as the sun is out and classes are over, you’re going to have a good time. Now, here’s everything that you’d ever need to know about the illustrious Lupe. 

He was born in Chicago and has said that some of his biggest influencers are Jay-Z and Nas. Lupe Fiasco is (surprise!) a stage name, and his real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco. The name Lupe Fiasco came from a combination of childhood nicknames and his own desire to create an explosive name for himself. We’ve got to hand it to him, it’s definitely not an easy name to forget. Fiasco has said, however, that the name humbles him: fiasco synonymous with “a disaster,” and this reminds him to take his time with projects and work to avoid any fiascos. He’s a deep guy.  

The best thing to know about Lupe Fiasco is that “The Show Goes On” is his song. If you try telling me that you don’t know nearly all the words to this song, I just won’t believe you. 

In addition to this classic jam, Fiasco has done work with big-time artists Kanye West, Jay-Z and John Legend, among others. He has been nominated for Grammy and BET Hip Hop Performance awards and has had several songs reach the Billboard Hot 100 or 200 charts. 

This year’s Class and Charter Day gives students a lot to look forward to. Get ready to see Lupe Fiasco, and sing along to “The Show Goes On,” “Superstar” and “Kick, Push.” Some students will be lucky and deserving enough to win awards and scholarships this year, and everyone on campus can get excited for the coming events and speakers. Above all else, students will be looking forward to classes ending and summer beginning and celebrating all day long.

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