An excerpt from the book SOANGETAHA by John Churcher
Foreword written by Ed Sullivan, '53
"Turn around and meet the Mohawk Club." No Greek letters. No nationwide network of campus chapters. Just the Mohawks. In the beginning, a group of young men with interests in common, who organized themselves formally in 1924. And now, more than three-quarters of a century later, almost 1,000 members of the Mohawk Club of Fitchburg State College can be proud of an achievement record deeply entwined with the life of the college itself.
First a normal school, later a teachers college, and now a state college offering a wide variety of degree programs, Fitchburg was the crucible for the evolution of the Mohawk Club. It was shaped by the same times and events that shaped the college. Some of us remember the distinctive make-up of the club between 1945 and the mid-1950s, with its provocative mix of World War II and Korean War veterans and fresh-faced youngsters just two years or so out of high school. The mix was repeated on a much smaller scale in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. And the antiwar controversy in the country and on the Fitchburg campus was also continued among the 'Hawks as well.
Other 'Hawks recall some of the incredible variety of social and charitable activities which were fundamental to the club's existence in all decades: the Gav-Hawk Formal, soccer in the snow, Toys for Tots, blood drives, the annual variety show with the ToKalons and other stage productions, Monadnock and Wachusett hikes, "Fun-Nite," the Installation Banquet, and the Winter Carnival. Add also initiation activities (for veterans, great fun but not to be taken too seriously), those rhythmic drum beat solos, the paddle, "bear meat," the "shack on the hill" (where Aubuchon Hall now stands), and, of course, learning a word that defied pronunciation, Soangetaha. All this and more combined to make a Mohawk out of each of us. Consequently, members in all decades are tied together by bonds of friendship and tradition that will continue in the spirit of solidarity as time passes.
Yet, a thumbnail sketch of a Mohawk is impossible. While it may have been true that the club tended to attract sports-minded students as members, the later and extraordinary variety of careers of many Mohawks suggest that something more than an interest in sports helped generate those careers. Perhaps it was that combination of college and club which, as some member wrote recently, "...came together in a total experience."
As Mohawks we were identified as active, interested, and involved members of the student body. Such a combination defies objective scrutiny. But, there it is! We Mohawks are college professors, school teachers, principals and superintendents, museum curators, clergymen, firefighters, police officers, senior command-level military officers, authors, artists, musicians, historians, mathematicians, media and management specialists, businessmen, even a magician. And, yes, coaches and physical education directors, too. Leaders all. So once again, "Turn around and meet the Mohawk Club."