History & Traditions

In 1839, the Congress of the Republic of Texas ordered that a site be set aside to meet the state's higher education needs. After a series of delays over the next several decades, the state legislature reinvigorated the project in 1876, calling for the establishment of a "university of the first class." Austin was selected as the site for the new university in 1881, and construction began on the original Main Building in November 1882. Less than one year later, on Sept. 15, 1883, The University of Texas at Austin opened with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students — and a mission to change the world. Today, UT Austin is a world-renowned higher education, research, and public service institution serving more than 51,000 students annually through 18 top-ranked colleges and schools.

Longhorn Traditions

You'll feel the inescapable pull of the UT Austin spirit in a million ways. For some, it's finding that secret studying (or napping!) spot tucked away in a quiet library full of ancient manuscripts; for others, it's the roar of the burnt orange crowd as 100,000 voices unify to the words of "The Eyes of Texas." Whatever the case, our many traditions help to strengthen our community and bind us together as Longhorns — proud, ambitious and determined to change the world.



Our beloved mascot, a Longhorn steer.

Big Bertha

Big Bertha

"The Largest Bass Drum in the World" and an essential part of the Longhorn Band.

Texas band flags

Burnt Orange and White

The University of Texas at Austin's distinctive school colors.

Eyes of Texas

"The Eyes of Texas"

Our official alma mater, written in 1903 and sung by the Longhorn faithful ever since.

Students doing the hook 'em hand signal

Hook 'em Horns

One of the world's most recognizable hand signals. 

The Longhorn Band tuba section

The Longhorn Band

"The Showband of the Southwest," our award-winning marching band.

Smokey the Cannon

Smokey the Cannon

Our famous replica Civil War cannon, fired during Texas football games.

Texas Fight

"Texas Fight"

Our official fight song, played following touchdowns and extra points — and on thousands of other occasions.