Traditions play a great role in campus life. They reflect the spirit, values and dreams of the people who make up an institution. UT Dallas, being a relatively young university, celebrates a growing number of traditions.
Become familiar with some of the traditions that help give UT Dallas its distinctive flavor: alma mater, Temoc, University colors, spirit rocks, Whoosh!, homecoming, ceremonial mace, gonfalons, Legacy Lane, Welcome Week, Family Day and Ring Ceremony.
The music for the Alma Mater was created by internationally recognized composer Robert Rodriguez. Its lyrics were created by Bill Dunn and Neely Reynolds.
Whenever the UT Dallas community gathers to sing the Alma Mater, attendees hook pinkies with the person next to them in a tradition called “pinky hooking.”
The Ceremonial Mace symbolizes the authority of the administrators and faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas and is carried at the head of processions during various events. UT Dallas alumni and McDermott Scholar Laura Rashedi were instrumental in creating this legacy.
The mace was handcrafted by local woodworkers with wood from the 600-year-old Treaty Oak Tree in Austin, which is said to have shaded Stephen F. Austin as he signed the first boundary agreement between American Indians and settlers in 1824.
The mace includes sterling silver university seals surrounding a wafer embedded with Texas Instruments microchips that represent the role of the company in the founding of the university. A steel band in the headpiece and the metal foot of the staff are fashioned from a scientific instrument designed by the UT Dallas Space Sciences Institute and flown aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1995.
Family Day is a UT Dallas tradition that celebrates the families of our fabulous UT Dallas students with special presentations, family-oriented activities and entertainment. Faculty and administrators look forward to this opportunity to meet and visit with parents and students on an informal basis.
More than 40 student organizations participate in this event.
Gonfalons — long college banners that are suspended from crossbars— add color and pageantry to The University of Texas at Dallas commencement and convocation ceremonies.
The name derives from medieval Italy, where "gonfalone" was the name given to a community meeting in Florence. Each neighborhood had its own flag and coat of arms and the word gonfalon eventually came to be associated with the flag.
All University gonfalons have in common several elements that symbolize the unified mission of the University. Among these common elements are the school colors.
Homecoming has been a UT Dallas tradition for many years.
Homecoming activities include a parade, pep rally and tailgate party, and culminate with men’s and women’s soccer games. Although it has taken on many shapes and forms over the past years, Homecoming has always ended with a Saturday SUAAB-sponsored Dance and Casino Night. Casino Night is a long-standing tradition at UT Dallas that features slot machines and black jack, poker and roulette tables. Games are played for tickets that are redeemed for a chance to win prizes.
Legacy Lane allows UT Dallas graduates to forever leave their mark on campus. The pathway of personalized engraved pavestones honors the history and emerging traditions of the University and provides a pathway to the future, looking forward to the great achievements of future graduates. Made of beautiful shades of red brick, the pathway stretches along the creek behind the McDermott Library. The park that surrounds the pathway creates a welcoming atmosphere.
Legacy Lane was established by the Student Ambassadors in conjunction with the Alumni Association to give graduates an opportunity to become a part of the University’s history.
The ring is a symbol of pride and achievement worn by a graduate of The University of Texas at Dallas. The design features important symbols of the University. The letters “UTD” on the ring top identify the wearer as a graduate. One side emphasizes the University’s Texas heritage, displaying the state flag matched with the Lone Star, crossed by the UT Dallas Comet. The degree received is also designated. The other side includes the seal of The University of Texas System with the year of UT Dallas’ founding in 1969, and the year that the wearer graduated.
The Spirit Rocks are an outlet for expression in the form of large boulders, centrally located on the grassy median between Green Hall and the Jonsson Building. Students are invited to paint an array of designs on the boulders, from original pop art to marriage proposals to postings about current events or campus organizations.
The rocks have become a unique stopping point during campus tours.
Temoc is the official mascot of The University of Texas at Dallas. Temoc’s name, blue skin and fiery red hair all come from a single source: Temoc is comet spelled backwards.
Temoc is very supportive of the UT Dallas Athletics of all kinds, including soccer, basketball, baseball and volleyball. He is a part of the UT Dallas community and is one with the crowd. Temoc also likes to attend major events on campus such as the Homecoming Parade, Casino Night, Freshman Convocation, Orientations and Alumni Breakfasts among others.
University Colors (Orange and Green)
University colors are orange and green; both of these colors are used in the UT Dallas logo. The color of orange represents the UT System and is derived from the burnt orange of UT Austin, the first UT school. In the world of academia, the orange color symbolizes engineering.
UT Dallas' green color stems from the green olive and oak branches that are represented in the UT Dallas seal. Olive branches symbolize peace and oak branches symbolize strength and endurance.
Welcome Week is an annual tradition featuring events that celebrate the return of continuing students and welcome new students. Welcome Week is packed with events for everyone. One important Welcome Week event is the Convocation ceremony, which marks the arrival of a new class to the UT Dallas family and introduces students to the University’s history, traditions and Alma Mater. Moreover, during the ceremony many faculty members and the president share their personal stories of transitioning to college and how that experience changed their lives. Welcome Week culminates with a carnival and an impressive fireworks show.
The Whoosh — the sound a comet would make — is UT Dallas students’ signature sign, an understood language between Comets. The gesture honors the campus mascot, the comet, by imitating that astronomical object.
To “Whoosh,” make a fist with your left hand and put it in front of your mouth. Then extend your right arm out and slightly upward, with palm down and fingers extended. Finally, give a quick lean to the left, and belt out a big “WHOOSH!”