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What Presidents' Day looks like at OU

The shortest month of the year arguably has little to look forward to besides Valentine's Day, but a shining beacon of a promise shines through: Presidents' Day. Unfortunately, as many students felt, Bobcats were not treated to this leisure of no school to honor American leaders.

Now celebrated on the third Monday in February, Presidents' Day was originally established in 1885 to recognize George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22. The date became a perennial day of remembrance after his death in 1800, according to

Sen. Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first politician to propose the day as an official day of observances. Former President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the proposal into law in 1879 for the District of Columbia, but it eventually applied to the entire U.S. in 1885.

Interestingly enough, Washington's birthday was the first national holiday to celebrate the life of an individual and would remain the only holiday until Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Washington's birthday evolved into Presidents' Day in the 1960s when Congress proposed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The goal was to change the days of federal holidays from steadfast dates to specific Mondays. The proposal intended to give working American citizens a three-day weekend. Furthermore, the holiday also included Abraham Lincoln's birthday on Feb. 12. Presidents' Day officially took effect in 1971 under President Richard Nixon.

Because Presidents' Day is a federal holiday, the U.S. Postal Service, most banks and most public schools are all closed.

In Ohio University's Administrative Policy Manual, Presidents' Day is observed as a holiday but is considered a "floating holiday." According to the OU Holiday Calendar, Presidents' Day was observed Dec. 27 in 2022 and will be celebrated on Dec. 26 this year. Another example of a holiday OU has deemed as "floating" is Indigenous Peoples'/Columbus Day, which is observed the day after Thanksgiving.

Erin Winchell, a freshman studying Spanish, thinks it would be nice to have a day off, but is not super upset that classes are still being held during the holiday.

"I don't really mind going to classes anyways, (and) I guess we don't really ever celebrate Presidents' Day anyways," she said. "It's kind of like it would be nice to have a day off."

Winchell also believes that the celebration and observance of the holiday should be the same across the board for all colleges.

"If it's recognized by other universities, then it should be recognized by us," Winchell said.

The action of universities moving the day of observation for Presidents' Day is common for universities, with Miami University, The Ohio State University and Kent State University all doing the same thing and observing Presidents' Day in December. 

Olivia Urlage, a freshman studying retail and fashion merchandising, feels indifferent about the holiday, but would not be opposed to an extra day off.

"I don't usually celebrate it, it's not like a big thing for me, but if it means another day off, I wouldn't mind," she said.

Sydney Dadosky, a freshman studying visual communication, is in agreement with Urlage and said she wasn't exactly a president fanatic herself.

"I'm not, like, looking forward to Presidents' Day again," she said, laughing. "If we had one more day off, I would take it, but also I'm not really mad about it. I don't have a poster of a president." 

If one is dead set on celebrating President's Day, there are always other ways to celebrate the holiday while attending class at the same time.


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