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Schillers: What's With The Name?

Schillers, the OneCard's unit of currency are named after the German poet Friedrich von Schiller. He is the focus of one of Carleton's favorite traditions.

By Paul Caine '08

Schiller is something of a legend at Carleton—at least above the shoulders. The 18th century German poet’s bust, or so the story goes, once sat in storage, a forgotten, unspectacular addition to the art department’s collections. In 1957, a student took the bust as a room decoration. As the years went on, students stole the bust from one another, eventually adding a rule somewhere down the road that the current keepers of Schiller had to display it to the rest of the school at least once a year.

Now the bust of Schiller presents an iconic tradition at the College. It has been passed along from student to student, and at many all-College events one will see the guardians of Schiller wearing masks and shouting loudly, running across the stage with the bust and inciting throngs of students to chase after them. Students have dangled the bust from a helicopter over Laird Stadium, and when Bill Clinton delivered Carleton’s commencement address in 2000, Schiller took a ride on Air Force One.