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History and Traditions
Blue and White
In 1899, it was announced that Yale Blue and White would replace the colors of Salmon Pink and White. The colors are also applied to the Blue and White Parade and the Blue and White Dance held during Homecoming each fall.
Book and Torch
The book and torch are official symbols of the University and are featured in its seal. The book symbolizes knowledge and truth gained here and the torch symbolizes the light of inspiration that comes to students in these halls.
Indiana State University-Evansville (now University of Southern Indiana) -- Indiana State University-Evansville was created as a branch campus in 1965. Like Ball State University, it became an independent institution of higher education when it was granted independent standing as the University of Southern Indiana in 1985.
Named after Fred Donaghy, graduate of the Normal School (1912) and a professor of life sciences, this campus tradition was initiated in 1976 as a day set aside for the community to celebrate the season and to work to help beautify the campus and surrounding community.
March On (You Fighting Sycamores), the University's fight song, was authored and arranged by Joseph A. Gremelspacher, an ISU professor of music, as a pep song. It was first performed at a homecoming-eve pep rally on Oct. 20, 1939.
January 6 (although it is not always observed on this date) commemorates the opening of the institution in 1870 when 21 students presented themselves to a faculty of four on the first day of classes at the Indiana State Normal School.
The term Homecoming was first used in print announcements for the Alumni-Varsity Basketball Game on Dec. 9, 1916. By the year 1919, this event became known as Blue and White Day and featured dances and entertainment for alumni of the Normal School. In 1921 the events were organized around a football game scheduled earlier in the autumn. A bonfire and pep rally were added to the festivities in 1922; the Blue-and-White Parade in 1923; and in 1937, Bette Whitmore (Kappa Kappa) was elected ISUs first Homecoming Queen.
In 1969, a committee created the Chief Quabachi concept as a mascot for the school. This Indian Chief (and accompanying legend) was used as a mascot until 1989. In 1995, the university welcomed Sycamore Sam to the ISU family. The blue-and-white creature is a favorite among young and old alike.
This spirit week is annually held in April and consists of a variety of student activities in celebration of spring, including the Tandem race (see below), Battleship, Spring Sing, service learning opportunities and more.
Student Media was created in 2012 in a merger of Student Publications and electronic media outlets under Academic Affairs. Since then, in addition to operating the Indiana Statesman, Sycamore Video, and WISU-FM, Student Media has grown to include The Sycamore, a digital yearbook; Syc Creations, a client-driven video and web production group; the Indiana State Sports Network, which produces video for ESPN3; WZIS, a student-staffed station created when WISU converted to a public radio format; and the Center for Innovation in Technology and Digital Media.
In 1921 a contest was held to pick a name for the athletic teams at what was then called the Indiana State Normal School. Until this time, the term "Fighting Teachers" was frequently used in press accounts of athletic contests. In January 1922, it was announced that the name Sycamores had won a popular vote of the student body. Indiana State University has used this team name ever since.
This student-organized race was first run as part of Spring Week activities in 1970. Teams are comprised of coed mixed pairs, which compete on tandem bicycles.
The Indiana State Tricycle Derby was first run in 1963 as a 10-lap race around the sidewalks of the Quadrangle on children's tricycles. The races featured a men's and women's division (the Powder Puff Derby). The races now feature men's and women's teams racing on specially built tricycles at the new Recreation East complex at Ninth and Sycamore streets.
The current seal includes the symbols of the book and torch and the founding date of 1865.