the UC History Digital Archives

the UC History Digital Archives

Search the Los Angeles collection
Home > General History > The Ten Campuses > Los Angeles >

Traditions


About UC Los Angeles
:: Historical Overview
:: Administrative Officers

Academic Units
:: Colleges and Schools
:: Academic Departments
:: Graduate Division
:: Institutes and Research Centers
:: Summer Sessions

Student Life
:: Student Housing
:: Student Government
:: Student Publications
:: Student Services
:: Traditions

Libraries and the Arts
:: Cultural Programs
:: Libraries

Additional Resources
:: Related Links
:: Bibliography

:: Sources

print-friendly format

Los Angeles: Traditions

Some UCLA traditions may be traced to the time the campus was still located on Vermont Avenue. Later, Founder's Rock was hauled to the Westwood site, the first song was written, a mascot chosen, and the first note of the big rivalry was sounded when students from the University of Southern California burned a bonfire which had been set for a UCLA rally. Many of these early traditions prevailed, some in altered form, together with a number of new ones introduced in the succeeding years.

Big C Mascot
Big Rivalry Songs
Card Stunts Spring Sing
Founder's Rock The Trip
Homecoming Uni-Camp
Kelps Victory Bell
Mardi Gras Victory Rally


Big C
The original Big C was built in 1939 by students, and for many years the concrete letter dominated the campus landscape from the hill later occupied by Sproul Residence Hall. In 1960, Big C junior, slightly smaller in size than its predecessor, was built on the bluff below Sproul Hall.

to top

Big Rivalry
Big Rivalry was the crosstown rivalry between UCLA and the University of Southern California. The annual football game between the two schools, first played on September 28, 1929, was one of the highlights of the season and decided ownership of the victory bell, and whether or not UCLA students held a victory rally on the Monday following the game.

to top

Card Stunts
Card Stunts were essentially the same as those performed elsewhere, but "light stunts" became a trademark of the UCLA rooting section. They were originated in 1935 when the football team played some of its games at night. The rooting section was wired and each student was given four light bulbs, each of a different color. The various stunts were performed in the darkened stadium by students plugging in the required bulb. In 1953, because the light bulbs and wiring were not only difficult to handle but expensive as well, the students developed a card similar to the type used in ordinary card stunts with eight different light filters placed in a circular pattern; each student was given a flashlight to shine through the various filters.

to top

Founder's Rock
Founder's Rock was a 75-ton boulder of solid granite at the eastern entrance of the campus marking the general area where Regent Edward A. Dickson stood in 1923 when he resolved that Westwood would be the site of the new campus of the University. The boulder was brought to Westwood from Perris Valley, California, in time for the dedication of the new campus on October 25, 1926.

to top

Homecoming
Homecoming was a tradition that underwent a few changes since its inception in 1927. In 1933, a parade of boats, the first of its kind at any university, was held in Westwood Village in addition to a carnival and bonfire. In 1964, the parade was temporarily grounded, in that the Boats became stationary and the bonfire were replaced by an olio show, barbeque and a television rally with the University of Southern California (large television screens were set up on the two campuses so that the students on each could witness both rallies via closed circuit television). A rally dance was held each year to end the week of festivities which included a homecoming concert, the Westwood Village street dance, and the crowning of the Homecoming Queen.

to top

Kelps
Kelps attended all athletic events and performed various stunts to cheer on the team. The Noble Order of Kelps was started in 1947 as a men's spirit organization to foster and stimulate interest in the school and student activities, and to promote spirit through individual action and collective participation in the affairs of the University. Its members were selected on the basis of service and on their capabilities as "rooter rousers."

to top

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras, which was billed as the world's largest collegiate activity, helped support Uni-Camp, a summer camp for underprivileged children. It began in 1949 as a bazaar to raise money for the school's foreign students, but grew to a full-scale carnival with booths, games, rides, food and concerts. By the mid-1960s, over 30,000 people annually attended Mardi Gras, and the funds enabled more than 700 underprivileged children to go to summer camp each year.

to top

Mascot
In 1925, the grizzly bear was chosen as the official mascot for the school. However, when UCLA entered the Pacific Coast Conference in 1929, the University of Montana (a conference member) had the same mascot so the bruin was selected to replace the grizzly. When students used to bring live bears to attend their games, they gave them a variety of names depending on the sex of the particular animal; Joe and Josephine Bruin were the names that endured. Joe Bruin was in attendance at every athletic event, though the live bears were supplanted by a student dressed in a costume that is a caricature of the animal.

to top

Songs
Originally, Berkeley's "Hail to California" was also sung at Los Angeles, but in 1925, student Bert Price wrote the words and music of a song especially for UCLA called, "Hail, Blue and Gold." in 1960, this was replaced by "Hail to the Hills of Westwood," with words and music by student Jeane Emerson, and this remained the alma mater. Other songs connected with UCLA included "By the Old Pacific, " words and music by Thomas Victor Beall, and "Team, Hear Our Song," words by Don Davis, music by Harry Fillmore.

to top

Spring Sing
Spring Sing began in 1946 when the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity's unofficial title of "Champion Serenaders of Fraternity Rome was challenged. The first formal competition took place in Royce Hall and was so well attended that the event was moved to the open air theater the following year. In 1952, when the Medical Center was built on this site, the Spring Sing was moved to the Hollywood Bowl. "Sing for a pavilion" was the title used for the event during the next three years as proceeds went to help build a new pavilion on campus to replace the old open air theater. Later proceeds were used for scholarships for foreign students.

to top

The Trip
Every fall, thousands of students traveled to the Bay Area for the UCLA-Stanford football game at Palo Alto or, in alternate years, the UCLA-UC game at Berkeley. Originally started in 1931, the first trips were made by boat and train. By the mid-1960s, students traveled by plane and private auto.

to top

Uni-Camp
Unicamp was a summer camp in the San Bernardino Mountains for underprivileged, blind and diabetic children of the Los Angeles area. It was founded in 1935 by 11 UCLA students and is coordinated by the University Religious Conference in conjunction with local elementary and junior high schools, church affiliated organizations and community centers. The camp was divided into two-week sessions and was operated by UCLA students who acted as counselors and who received only their room and board during their stay. The camp was supported mainly through the contributions of students and proceeds from special events such as Mardi Gras.

to top

Victory Bell
Victory Bell was given to the student body by the UCLA Alumni Association in 1939, and was originally the school's own symbol of victory until it was taken by students from the University of Southern California in 1941. When it was surrendered in 1942, the student body presidents of the two schools agreed that the bell should be a permanent trophy awarded the winner of the annual UCLA-USC football game.

to top

Victory Rally
Victory Rally, originated in 1946, took place on the Monday following the UCLA-USC football game, should UCLA be the winner. Students joined in a march to the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards to sing and cheer.

source

to top

 
 
the UC History Digital Archives

Copyright © 1999-2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 06/18/04.