I was a witness to the first year cadets' cresting ceremony.
It's funny how I've been a student here at Judson College for three years and didn't know this ceremony existed. Apparently, first year cadets are not given a crest until they complete a semester at Marion Military Institute (MMI). If you're wondering what a crest is, then I commend your curiosity, because I didn't know what it was at first either! Essentially, the crest is worn on their hats and symbolizes their official rank at MMI.
To be honest, I do not know enough about the military to explain how the ranking system works. However, I do know quite a bit about MMI and its history with Judson College. My friend, Brittany Hall, wrote a great blog that also talks about Judson and MMI if you want to check it out as well.
The history of Marion Military Institute takes one back to 1842 and the creation of Howard College, which is Samford University today. In 1840, Edwin King and Milo Jewett saw a need to create an institution similar to Judson for males. Reverend James DeVotie, the pastor of Siloam Baptist Church, agreed that the need was legitimate. He raised the money to buy the land surrounding the original Judson Female Institute. By this time, Judson had built Jewett Hall, and no longer used the land.
Reverend DeVotie proposed that the Alabama Baptist State Convention fund the school in order to train ministers of the gospel. The proposal was accepted, and Howard College was created. Milo Jewett recommended Samuel Sterling Sherman to be the president of the college. Despite the difficulties ahead, Sherman left the University of Alabama, a well-established institution, and became the first president of Howard College. A well-known educator, Sherman was given the daunting task of turning "a picture in the air" into reality. Supporters of Howard College were few, but eventually Judson, Siloam, and the Alabama Baptist State Convention were able to ensure that the school became a reality.
When the school chose to relocate to Birmingham, J.T. Murfee, president of Howard College, stayed behind and founded Marion Military Institute (MMI). The school maintained the then "all white, all male, and all military" principles of Howard College. Thus, MMI took up the traditional roles that Howard College had with Judson College.
Now, both schools work hard to maintain the traditions of old while also managing to keep up with the times. Every year, the campuses host numerous events to encourage social interaction with the other.
A friend of mine coins it nicely: Judson and MMI have been going steady around 150 years now."