Traditions, Events and Entertainment

 width=Retired Traditions:
  • Flag Rush
  • Burying Calculus
  • Old Rules and Regulations


Events That Live On


Flag Rush

Flag Rush in 1926
Flag Rush in 1926.

The University Seal


The first University seal was adopted in 1851; it consisted of a motto, Meliora(perhaps suggested by Professor Kendrick), a hand pointing forward and upward, and the date 1851. The date was of course, incorrect, and would not be fixed until our current seal was adopted in 1928.



At that time, the seal was redesigned to reflect the changes which had occurred in the Greater University, notably the addition of the Eastman School of Music  and the School of Medicine. In 1986, a final change was made, reducing the number of snakes curled around the staff from two to one (a staff with two snakes belongs to Mercury, patron god of gamblers, commerce, and messengers, while the one staff/one snake belongs to Aesculapius, the legendary  Greek physician.) The original seal was engraved by John E. Gavit of Albany, NY; the modern seal was designed by Philipp Merz, who was also the primary designer for the original River Campus buildings


The University Colors

The official University colors are Dandelion Yellow and "Rochester" blue. 

They were officially adopted by the board of Trustees in 1954, although the dandelion yellow was chosen by the Alumni Association in June, 1893. Previously, the University colors were: magenta and white (1867-1876); light blue and gray (June, 1876-1892; golden rod yellow (June, 1892-1893). Of course, the choice of Dandelion yellow is thought to have been made in honor of the dandelions found on the University campus. There are at least two songs which celebrate the Dandelion Yellow.


The question of the colors was discussed at length in both the Rochester Reviewand the Campus newspaper.


For more on the actual colors, see the UR Graphics webpage.


The University Mascot: The Yellowjacket




According to campus legend, the Rochester sports teams became the "Yellowjackets" in 1925, when football player Howard Garnish '27 urged his yellow-clad teammates with the cheer "Go you Yellow Jackets!" 

In May,1930, the nickname was considered by the Board of Control not to have a classical or traditional enough connotation, and a contest was held for a new name for the University of Rochester teams; suggestions included Goldbugs, Rivermen, Dandelions, Genesseans, and Sailors. But when put to a vote, Yellowjackets was by far the winner. 

In 1991, Garnish said the name came from an editorial he wrote in the campus newspaper. 

"Rocky" is the latest version of the yellowjacket mascot.
The Dandelion



The dandelion has been the official flower of the University for the better part of Rochester's 150 years. Legend has it that the floral emblem was adopted in honor of the prolific plants that dotted the cow pasture that was to become Rochester's first campus on Prince Street.


Image from the 1945 Interpres.
















SongsThere have been many University songs over the years. Several songbooks were compiled and published between the 1890s and 1930s, and can be found in the Library's collections or downloaded here. The lyrics for "Our Alma Mater," "The Genesee" and "The Dandelion Yellow" can be viewed on the Songs of the University of Rochester page.
YellsClass yells are unique to each class. They can be found in copies of the Interpres of years gone by, and a few samples are listed below. Below are the yells for the Class of 1894 and Class of 1896. and full list can be found here

Boom-a-ling, boom-a-ling, Hic-ki-kor, X-C-I-V, Ninety-Four! (Class of 1894)
Hoi-Hoi-Ho, Rip-Rah-Rix, Rahoo, Rahoo, Ninety-Six! (Class of 1896)
Boar's Head

Photograph of students at a Boar's Head dinner

The Boar's Head Dinner began in 1934 and continues to this day.


Sesquicentennial CelebrationIn 2000, the University of Rochester celebrated its 150th anniversary. An essay contest was hosted by the library hosted to celebrate the University's history. The winning essays are available online on the Sesquicentennial Essays page.


Photograph of students

From the 1913 Croceus.