Read below to learn more about university traditions. The Syracuse University Archives has more information about the history of these events!
Syracuse University has a rich history of traditions dating back to 1870. Traditions include our Alma Mater, Fight Song, Crouse Chimes, Goon Squad and more. Remembering the past and where we came from gives us grounding and where we are today. Embrace the history of this great university and take part in our traditional events throughout the year.
If you would like to sign up to our listservs for Homecoming, Winter Carnival, Senior Celebration or the Traditions Commission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get information and get involved. We are always looking for new ideas and new students. Bring your friends along and join in the fun of keeping these rich traditions alive on campus.
Syracuse University’s Alma Mater, under the title Song of Syracuse, was first sung in public on March 15, 1893, by the University Glee and Banjo Club. Written by Junius W. Stevens, Class of 1895, recalled “…while I was walking home across the city — I lived in the northerly section — an idea for the song came to me. I had often noticed how the setting sun lighted up the walls of Crouse College long after dusk had fallen over the city and the valley. As I walked through the empty streets the words of a song took shape in my mind. By the time I reached home, the song was finished.”
Where the vale of Onondaga
Meets the eastern sky
Proudly stands our Alma Mater
On her hilltop high.
Flag we love! Orange! Float for aye-
Old Syracuse, o’er thee,
Loyal be thy sons and daughters
To thy memory.
Crouse Chimes were first installed in 1889 and renovated in 1981, the Crouse Chimes are rung at least twice a day and again on special occasions. John Crouse purchased the bells on May 25, 1889, from the Meneely Bell Company in Troy. For 54 years, the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity played them, including playing the Alma Mater at 5 p.m. every day.
Down, down the field goes
Just see those backs hit the line
and go thro’
Down, down the field they go
marching, Fighting for the Orange
stuanch and true.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Vict’ry’s in sight for old Syracuse,
Each loyal son knows she
ne’er more will lose,
For We’ll fight, yes. we’ll fight,
and with all our might
For the glory of Syracuse.
The Goon Squad was named after a group of students that historically were involved in helping students move into the residence halls, planning Homecoming Weekend, and organizing Moving Up Day. An orange stripe was painted down the middle of University Avenue all the way to Erie Boulevard to help incoming students find their way to campus.
Legend of #44
Since 1954, nine football players have worn the #44; three earned All-American honors (Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little). In basketball, two players (Derrick Coleman and John Wallace) wearing the same number broke scoring records. To reflect the importance of #44, the University’s zip code changed to 13244 and phone prefixes to 442 and 443.
In 1995, after the Traditions Commission recommended changing the mascot to a wolf, students petitioned the chancellor to keep the Orange the official mascot. On Dec. 4, 1995, Otto the Orange became the University’s official mascot thanks to a proclamation by Chancellor Kenneth Shaw. “Though some might say we sacrificed a more powerful image with this decision, I believe that, with the orange, we retain a unique position in college athletics”, Shaw said. In May of 1997, students, alumni, faculty and staff, voted to retain the original drawing of Otto as the official representation. The original mascot, an Indian warrior, of the University got its name from Syracuse being the salt city and because Syracuse is the home of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Still located on the Quad, the statue of the Saltine Warrior, a gift of the class of 1951, was sculpted by Louise Harriet Meyers. The warrior stayed as the mascot until 1978 when American Indian students complained that the mascot was offensive. For a time, a Roman Gladiator served as the mascot and students even proposed the Abominable Orangeman, an orangutan and Egnaro the Troll. For nearly 40 years, the brothers of Lamba Chi Alpha served as the Saltine Warrior, SU’s original mascot.
National Orange Day
National Orange Day began on March 24, 1994, in commemoration of SU Founders Day. Alumni from around the world are asked to show their pride by sporting the color orange on the University’s anniversary. SU students and others participate in service oriented activities. Organized by the Traditions Commission and the Office of Alumni Engagement, this day has hopes of being a legacy for years to come.
Official School Color
Orange became the University’s official color in 1890 when Syracuse became the first college to adopt only one official color. The original school colors, rose pink and pea green, adopted in 1872 were not popular. Orange was chosen to represent the golden apples of Hesperia; the story of the sunrise and the hope for a golden future. Blue is used as an unofficial accent color.