Traditions play an important role in campus life. They reflect the spirit, values and dreams of the people who make up an institution. Get familiar with some of the traditions that help give UT Dallas its distinctive flavor: the Alma Mater, the Ceremonial Mace, Family Day, Homecoming, International Week, Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, Legacy Lane, Ring Ceremony, School Colors, Senior Week, Springapalooza, Temoc, Welcome Week, Whoosh and the Comet Moments.
The music for the UT Dallas 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, all in attendance hook pinkies with the person next to them in a tradition called "pinky hooking."
UT Dallas orange and green
Founders' visionary dream
To inflame the scholar's heart
Lighting pathways through the dark
Reaching out from earth to space
Serving all the human race
Joined as one in unity
Alma Mater UTD
The Ceremonial Mace symbolizes the authority of the administrators and faculty at UT Dallas. It is carried at the head of processions during various events. UT Dallas alumna and McDermott Scholar Laura Rashedi was instrumental in helping to adopt the Ceremonial Mace. The mace was handcrafted 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 (TI) microchips. The microchips represent TI's role 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, which were flown aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1995.
Family Day celebrates the special connection between students and their families. Held annually each fall, Family Day activities include meet-and-greets with faculty and staff, a picnic, a sporting event, family games and campus tours.
Held in the fall, Homecoming activities include a parade, pep rally, tailgate party, dance, alumni events and a casino night. The weeklong celebration culminates with an athletic event.
International Week is a UT Dallas tradition that celebrates the University’s cultural diversity. During the week, held annually in early April, students can attend a globally themed film, participate in a dance party, take part in an international talent show and sample global foods.
An annual tradition that includes a complimentary barbecue lunch and music, UT Dallas' Juneteenth celebration commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a combination of "June" and "nineteenth" and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 42 states.
Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast takes place annually each January and is organized by UT Dallas' Multicultural Center. The event, a celebration of King’s legacy, typically includes food, speech and song.
Legacy Lane is a tree-lined path that stretches along the creek behind McDermott Library. The path is made up of personalized, engraved pavestones and is organized in sections dedicated to specific class years. Legacy Lane was established by the Student Ambassadors in conjunction with the Alumni Association to give UT Dallas graduates an opportunity to become a permanent part of the University's history.
The UT Dallas Ring Ceremony began in 2001. During the ceremony, students dunk their rings into the circular pool under the trellis at the center of campus. By dipping the rings in the pool as a group, the students cover the ring and themselves with UT Dallas pride. Both graduate and undergraduate students and their families are encouraged to participate in the ceremony, which is held regularly each spring and fall.
Rubbing Cecil Green's Head for Luck
Many students rub the sculpture of UT Dallas founder Cecil H. Green's head for good luck during finals week. Green, along with Eugene McDermott and Erik Jonsson, founded the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which became The University of Texas at Dallas in 1969. Green’s effigy is located outside Cecil H. Green Hall.
The official University colors are orange and green. The color orange represents the UT System and is derived from the burnt orange of UT Austin. UT Dallas' green color stems from the green olive and oak branches that are represented in the University's official seal.
Senior Week at UT Dallas includes a full-scale carnival, a ring ceremony and special photo opportunities with the University’s mascot, Temoc. Senior Week takes place annually in May.
Temoc, the blue-skinned "comet in human form" is the official mascot of UT Dallas. Temoc was designed in 1998 by then-student Aaron Aryanpur and was officially adopted as the University's mascot in April of that year. Originally called Blaze, his name was later changed to Temoc, which is comet spelled backward. As mascot, Temoc attends sporting events, and he is occasionally spotted at some of the University's acclaimed chess matches.
Welcome Week is a series of events and activities that celebrates the arrival of new students and the return of continuing students. Highlights include the Cometville Carnival, Breakfast Bonanza, Rec N' Wild and the Texas Party. The week starts with University Convocation, a special ceremony for incoming students that marks the beginning of their academic careers at UT Dallas.
Invented in the early 1990s, the Whoosh has become a way for UT Dallas students to show campus unity. The salute is named the Whoosh because it’s the sound a comet would make if there was sound in space.
How to Whoosh
- Make a fist with your left hand and put it in front of your mouth.
- Extend your right arm out and slightly upward, with palm down and fingers extended.
- Lean to the left and say "WHOOSH!"
The Mini Whoosh is similar to making the "OK" symbol, with thumb and first finger making the "O," but with the other three fingers extended horizontally above the "O" to represent the tail of the comet.
Comet Moments is a photo montage that captures the achievements of UT Dallas Comets at programs, events and activities from the 1980s to present day.
For more Comet Moments visit the Student Affairs Flickr