COLUMBIA — It’s unlikely that most students know what a shillelagh is, but Pat Corcoran, an MU engineering student, spent a week carrying the bright green and gold staff around with him. Everywhere.
For one week each year, MU's campus suddenly turns into a taste of Ireland as the College of Engineering celebrates Engineering Week. But Corcoran experienced the shamrocks, traditions and green beer from the epicenter of it all: He was nominated for King of E-Week, an honor that only goes to five men each year.
E-Week combines an unlikely mix of very formal traditions, handed down from generations of engineers past, and less austere activities such as pub crawls. “There’s a whole lot of tradition behind E-Week that the king and queen candidates are privy to but the rest of engineering I don’t think knows anything about,” Corcoran said.
It all culminates at the E-Ball on the last Saturday of the week, where students gather for drinks and dancing, as well as to watch two of their peers get crowned king and queen by St. Patrick himself. Corcoran didn’t win King — that honor went to Stephen Stinger — but he didn’t feel let down by the experience. “I was so happy. Steve and Katie (Giddins, who won Queen) really deserved it,” Corcoran said. “They worked so hard for this week.”