KU traditions will have
you swaying to the Alma Mater, Jumping into the Chi Omega Fountain, and hurtling down
the hill on a sled.
Give in to the fun.
Everyone loves our unique Jayhawk, but there’s serious history behind the mythical bird.
More than 150 years ago, settlers in Kansas Territory who opposed slavery called themselves “Jayhawkers.” Nobody knows why they picked that name, but local legend says the name combines the sparrow hawk and blue jay.
In KU’s early years – long before the university had an official mascot – students and faculty were already calling themselves Jayhawkers or Jayhawks. The name stuck.
The Rock Chalk Chant started as a rallying cry for the . . . science club? It’s true. Chemistry professor E.H.S. Bailey came up with the chant in 1886. His version was “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU” repeated three times. The rahs were later replaced by “Rock Chalk,” a flip-flopped ode to the “chalk rock,” or limestone, found on the hill where the campus sits.
Fans say the Rock Chalk Chant at sporting events and at Commencement. Often, we begin the chant after we sing the KU Alma Mater.