“His name is Bevo. Long may he reign!”
With that declaration in the December 1916 issue of UT’s Alcalde alumni magazine, the university’s famous longhorn mascot was formally named. Bevo had made his debut the month before during UT’s 21-7 football victory over Texas A&M.
As UT historian Jim Nicar writes on his website, “‘Bevo’ was a play on the word ‘beeve,’ which is not only the plural of ‘beef’ but long used as slang for a cow or steer destined to become food.” (While Bevo I did indeed meet that fate, today’s Bevos live out their retirement years peacefully at a private ranch.)
The better known story is that Bevo earned his moniker a few months later, after a group of Texas A&M students branded him with “13-0,” the Aggies’ winning score from the 1915 football match-up. As legend has it, Longhorns responded by altering the “13” to a “B,” the dash to an “E,” and then added a “V” in front of the “0.”
But while the Aggies did successfully vandalize the steer, they can’t take credit for the name.
A campus as old as this one (UT celebrated its 130th birthday in September) is crawling with lore. Today the university kicks off the inaugural Longhorn Traditions Week, culminating with the Texas-OU football game on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Activities include Tower Tours, “Wear your Orange Wednesday” and the annual Torchlight Parade to cheer on the football team.
And the Office of the Dean of Students has been counting down 17 Days of Longhorn Pride (in honor of the Class of 2017), sharing trivia, traditions and facts about the Forty Acres. Below are a few of our favorites. Be sure to follow @UTDoS on Twitter for more trivia the rest of the week.
- The Tower was first lit during the 1937 football season.
- Orange and white first made their appearance as school colors in 1885 when two Texas fans on the way to a baseball game ran to a general store in search of matching ribbons for the crowd. The shopkeeper sold them orange and white because those were the colors he had the most in stock. The colors were officially adopted in 1900. Burnt orange entered the picture in 1928, when football coach Clyde Littlefield ordered uniforms that wouldn’t fade.
- The original school song was “Jolly Students of the ’Varsity,” composed in 1902 by Longhorn band members John Lang Sinclair and Lewis Johnson. Sinclair and Johnson wrote “The Eyes of Texas” the following year.
- The Texas State Capitol building is four feet taller than the UT Tower, but the Tower was built at a higher elevation, giving it a two-foot advantage.
- The Littlefield Fountain commemorates UT students and alumni who died in World War I.
- The university libraries hold approximately 8 million volumes, including more than 70 miles of book stacks in the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL).
- Smokey the Cannon was built in 1953 by the university’s mechanical engineering laboratory in answer to the traditional shotgun blasts heard at Texas-Oklahoma football games. Smokey is fired every time the Longhorns score a touchdown.
- UT legend says that seeing one of the famous campus “albino” squirrels on the way to an exam guarantees an A.
- The Hook ’em Horns hand signal — named the top college hand sign by Sports Illustrated — was introduced in a 1955 pep rally by head cheerleader Harley Clark, Jr.