Newman Day (also Newman's Day), is a collegiate drinking ritual where 24 beers are consumed over 24 hours, founded by students and alumni of Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine. The tradition has since been used in the creation of the Dartmouth Challenge, which included activities closely associated with that of Newman Day to be participated in during Bates' Winter Carnival. It was long believed that it was named for the late beer-drinking actor Paul Newman and his apocryphal remark made during a campus speech: "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." Another reported source comes from a scene in Cool Hand Luke, in which Newman’s character eats 50 eggs in an hour. The tradition has been picked up by his alma mater, Kenyon College, and other spin offs are known among Harvard College, and the University of Virginia.
Research has shown references made to Newman Day in The Bates Student as early as the late 1970s, including alumni who remember days of cafeteria food fights following each year's celebration. One early Friday morning during Bates College Winter Carnival in January 1976, one of the original participants had read in a magazine article that Paul Newman claimed to drink 24 beers in 24 hours with 10 pushups between each drink. The tradition (originally named "Paul Newman Day") began in Herrick house with 3 Bates students participating.
Newman opposed the tradition, which received media attention in 2004 after Newman's lawyer sent a letter to Princeton and Bates registering Newman's disapproval, and requesting that the event be disassociated from his name, due to the fact that he did not endorse the behaviors, citing his creation in 1980 of the Scott Newman Centre, "dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse through education". Princeton disavowed any responsibility for the event, responding that Newman Day is not sponsored, endorsed, or encouraged by the university itself and is solely an unofficial event among students.
Celebration of Newman Day has continued, however, and participants indulge during the stipulated 24-hour period, during which participants are forbidden to sleep or vomit; sleeping or vomiting constitutes a "reset" that negates previous consumption, requiring the participant to restart from zero.
Newman Night has been recently started at The Evergreen State College in which students celebrate by having a dinner-party consisting largely of Newman's Own brand food. A classic Paul Newman movie is viewed and whenever Newman enters a new scene, the partakers have a drink of Newman's Own beverage spiked with liquor.
Harvard College's Hasty Pudding Theatricals celebrates an annual Paul Newman Day while on tour in Bermuda. Many members are known to take part in the popular Kitty Dukakis Day, drinking 750 ml of liquor in 24 hours. Additionally, some of its members have been known to take part in what is known as The Jonathan Price Holiday Grog, drinking 72 beers in 72 hours.
Many fourth-year students at the University of Virginia celebrate the day of its football team's last home game by drinking a metric fifth (750 mL) of liquor – approximately 300 mL of pure alcohol, assuming 80-proof liquor – between the midnight that begins game day and the kickoff of the game. This practice, known as the "Fourth-Year Fifth", has drawn extensive criticism since a student lost her life due to an alcohol related fall after attempting to complete it. The University has promoted a student-developed event labeled the "Fourth-Year 5K" (i.e., 5-kilometer run), open to students of all years as well as local residents, as a constructive alternative.
- The Daily Princetonian: Carol Lu, "If I had a nickel for every beer I drank today." April 24, 2007.
- Nevin, David (1970). Muskie of Maine. Ladd Library, Bates College: Random House, New York. p. 99.
- Woz, Markus (2002). Traditionally Unconventonal. Ladd Library, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Bates College. p. 6.
- Clark, Charles E. (2005). Bates Through the Years: an Illustrated History. Edmund Muskie Archives: Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. p. 37.
- The New York Times: "Newman's Day — forget it, star urges drinkers." Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "Binge drink ritual upsets actor". BBC News. April 24, 2004.
- Cheng, Jonathan (April 24, 2004). "Newman's Day – forget it, star urges drinkers". Sydney Morning Herald.
- anonymous primary source (alumni)