K-State has developed a multitude of traditions since its founding in 1863. Here are just some of the fun historic tidbits about the university.
The alma mater, selected in a campus contest in 1903, was written by Humphrey W. Jones, class of 1888. His original song was later altered by changing “KSAC” (for Kansas State Agricultural College) to “KSU.” Here are the lyrics:
I know a spot that I love full well,
‘Tis not in forest nor yet in dell;
Ever it holds me with magic spell,
I think of thee, Alma Mater.
KSU, we’ll carry thy banner high.
KSU, long, long may thy colors fly.
Loyal to thee, thy children will swell the cry.
Hail, hail, hail, Alma Mater.
The Powercat Logo
The Powercat is the official logo for K-State athletics. Illustrator Tom Bookwalter, instructor of illustration created the emblem in 1989 for head football coach Bill Snyder, who wanted a new logo for his team.
Willie the Wildcat
Willie the Wildcat is K-State’s official mascot. He has been spotted on the sidelines of K-State sporting events since 1947 and has undergone several makeovers since his first appearance. However, Willie’s identity remains a secret to this day. The cartoon version of Willie the Wildcat appeared at the beginning of the 1960s, with comical, fierce and pumped-up incarnations appearing since then.
Prior to Willie, a black Labrador named Boscoe could be found at K-State events from 1906 to 1909, and as early as 1922, a real wildcat named Touchdown represented K-State at games.
Anderson Hall is home to the offices of the president, provost and dean of students, along with central administration figures. It was named after John A. Anderson, K-State’s second president, in 1902. In addition to administrative offices, Anderson Hall has housed a chapel, library, student lounge, various academic units and post office.
Call Hall Purple Pride Ice Cream
Purple Pride blueberry ice cream came about in the late 1960s when K-State professor Harold Roberts wanted to spark interest in football and promote school pride. Only the dairy manager of Call Hall knows the official recipe. Call Hall sells on average 6,400 half gallons of ice cream in a nine-month period.
Purple Power Play on Poyntz
The city of Manhattan closes off the downtown area for a carnival event on the Thursday and Friday nights before the first home football game. Purple Power Play includes a firework display and pep rally to boost K-State pride.
Ward is home to K-State’s nuclear research reactor. K-State is one of only 25 universities to have a nuclear reactor on campus.
Nichols was once a gymnasium and home of K-State basketball and music departments. It caught on fire in 1968, and was rebuilt to house the drama, dance and computer science departments.
The Wabash Cannonball
The Wabash Cannonball was the only piece of band music to survive the 1968 Nichols Hall fire. Today, this song is a K-State tradition and is commonly played at sporting events. It inspires K-Staters to gyrate back and forth whenever it’s played.
Tointon Family Stadium
This 2,500-seat stadium is the home of Wildcat baseball. It was dedicated in spring 2002.
Named after the late Fred Bramlage, a Junction City businessman, Bramlage Coliseum is home to K-State men’s and women’s basketball. Fred Bramlage was a major contributor to the construction of the 13,500-seat coliseum, which opened in 1988. Bramlage also is home to Landon Lectures and concerts.
Snyder Family Stadium
Named KSU Stadium until 2005, Snyder Family Stadium is dedicated to head football coach Bill Snyder. The stadium seats 52,200 fans.
Royal Purple, the school color
Representatives from each class chose K-State’s official color in 1896; however, the faculty did not approve it until 1921. Contrary to popular belief, royal purple is K-State’s only official color, though it is commonly paired with black, white and silver.
Harry E. Erickson, a K-State student, wrote the fight song “Wildcat Victory” in 1927.
The Aggieville business district is located along Moro and Laramie streets in Manhattan, catty-corner from K-State. Aggieville is home to many shopping and dining hot spots, including Varney’s Bookstore. The district started as a single laundry shop in 1889.
K-Staters were originally known as the Aggies, hence the term “Aggieville, USA.” In 1915 Coach Chief Bender coined the nickname “Wildcats” for his football team because of its fighting spirit.
For more information on K-State’s past visit http://consider.k-state.edu/traditions/.