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The Seminole Tribe of Florida


The Florida State University Seal

8 School Colors 10 Alma Mater – High O’er Towering Pines


Hymn to the Garnet and Gold

14 16



The Florida State University Ring The Florida State University Mace


Osceola and Renegade

24 26 28 28

Marching Chiefs The FSU Fight Song The War Chant The Tomahawk Chop

30 32 34 36 38 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60

Unconquered Statue The Spirit Drum Garnet and Gold Glitter Guys Seminole Uprising TRUE Seminole Homecoming Parade Pow Wow Homecoming Chief and Princess Westcott Fountain Francis Eppes Bench Odds and Evens Rat Caps TBUF The Kissing Bench Thank You


THE SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA For nearly six decades, The Florida State University has proudly identified itself with the heroic Seminole Tribe of Florida. The name “Florida State Seminoles” was selected by a vote of the university’s student body in 1947. The name was selected specifically to honor the unconquered spirit of the Florida Seminoles — those people whom the Seminole Tribe of Florida refers to as the “few hundred unconquered Seminole men, women, and children who were left — all hiding in the swamps and Everglades of South Florida.” Florida State’s use of the name honors the strength and bravery of these people, who never surrendered and ultimately persevered. The university has worked diligently for more than 30 years to ensure that our representations of Seminole imagery bring only honor to the Seminole people. The Tribe participates in each commencement ceremony, as well as the annual Homecoming festivities.

Carla Gopher of the Seminole Tribe of Florida at the unveiling of the Seminole Family Statue


THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY SEAL The origins of the seal date back to the late 19th century and the West Florida Seminary, which is the oldest predecessor to what is now The Florida State University. An owl was chosen to represent the wisdom the school would impart to its students, but as the college changed so did the seal. In 1909, the university adopted a similar version of our current seal, incorporating the three torches to symbolize Vires, Artes and Mores, which are a Latin translation of strength, skill, and character. The seal has since been updated with a more modern appearance, but its strong traditions have not been compromised.

SCHOOL COLORS The colors of garnet and gold were passed down from The Florida State College for Women and were originally used by the “Even” and “Odd” athletic teams. Each fall, the women from odd numbered years would face those of the even numbered years in a series of sporting events, such as basketball and football. The “Odd” team formally adopted the victory colors of red, white, and purple and the “Even” team chose green and gold. The Flambeau referred to the “Odd” team as “garnet” and the Even team as “gold,” which later became Florida State’s official colors.


ALMA MATER HIGH O’ER THE TOWERING PINES High o’er the towering pines our voices swell, Praising those Gothic spires, we love so well. Here sons and daughters stand, faithful and true, Hailing our alma mater, F.S.U.




HYMN TO THE GARNET AND GOLD J. Dayton Smith’s The Hymn to the Garnet and Gold was arranged for the band by Charlie Carter in 1956. The Hymn made its first appearance at Homecoming (as performed by the Marching Chiefs) in 1958. Here’s a hymn to the Garnet and Gold, ringing to the sky. Here’s a song for the men and women bold. Sing with heads held high. Striving ere to seek to know, Fight for victory. Alma Mater, this our song to you. Echoes, F.S.U.

CONVOCATION New students and family members are invited to participate in Florida State’s official convocation, which is held each year just prior to the start of the fall semester. This event provides the incoming class with a memorable introduction to FSU’s history and traditions. Convocation also includes FSU’s historic Torch Ceremony, during which upper-class students pass the torches representing Vires (strength), Artes (skill) and Mores (character) to members of the freshman class.



THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY RING The Florida State University Ring serves as a permanent icon of the Florida State experience and spirit. Adorned with the three torches from our seal, the ring is reserved exclusively for alumni and enrolled students in good standing with the university who have completed at least 60 credit hours. In the spring, students have the opportunity to participate in the President’s Ring Ceremony and have their ring presented to them by the president of the university.

The Florida State University Ring being hand crafted


THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY MACE The Florida State University mace, created from native black walnut and gold plated silver, was designed by Ivan Johnson, former Florida State Professor of Art. The woodwork is the creation of James C. Smith, 1992-93 Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and the metalwork is the product of Florida State alumnus Donald Vodicka. The university marshal bears the mace before the president as the academic procession enters and retires from academic convocations.


Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL




OSCEOLA AND RENEGADE One of the most spectacular traditions in all of college football occurs at Doak Campbell Stadium. A Florida State student portraying the famous Native American Seminole leader, Osceola, charges down the field on an Appaloosa horse named Renegade and plants a flaming spear at midfield to begin each home game. Bill Durham, a 1965 graduate of Florida State, envisioned the idea of Osceola and Renegade when he was a sophomore on the Homecoming Committee in 1962.  He finally gained support for the idea when Coach Bobby Bowden came to Florida State. Mr. Durham obtained approval from the Seminole Tribe of Florida and began the tradition at the first football game of the 1978 season. The pageantry of Osceola and Renegade remains as one of the most recognizable traditions of Florida State and serves as a tribute to the Seminole Tribe. 

MARCHING CHIEFS The FSU Marching Chiefs were deemed by Sports Illustrated as the “band that never lost a halftime.” It all began in the late 1930s when the first formal band was organized at The Florida State College for Women (FSCW). With fewer than 20 student musicians, the band made its first performance at the “Odds” and “Evens” intramural football game on Thanksgiving Day in 1939. The band didn’t become officially organized until 1941 when an advertisement for try-outs was published. Today, the Marching Chiefs are one of the largest college marching bands in the world and their membership is comprised of students from almost every academic department within the university. Before each home football game, The Chiefs hold their “pregame skull session” at Dick Howser Baseball Stadium. The band performs section cheers and gives the audience a sneak preview of the upcoming halftime show.

Marching Chiefs then (below) and now (right)


THE FSU FIGHT SONG On October 6, 1950, a newly hired music professor, Tommie Wright (pictured right), grabbed a copy of the Florida Flambeau on his way to lunch. While eating a sandwich, he read a poem by Doug Alley, who was then a student at Florida State. Inspired by the words and palpable school spirit, Professor Wright sat down at his piano and within an hour sketched out music to accompany the poem. That same week, the Marching Chiefs introduced the new song at a home game. It was the first time the world would hear the FSU Fight Song. You got to fight, fight, fight for FSU You got to scalp ‘em Seminoles; You got to win, win, win, win, win this game and roll on down and make those goals. For FSU is on the war path now, and at the battle’s end she’s great. So fight, fight, fight, fight to victory, our Seminoles from Florida State!



THE WAR CHANT Florida State’s “War Chant” might have started as a random occurrence during a 1984 contest with the Auburn Tigers, but most Seminole historians say that the chant has evolved over the past half a century. The popular Seminole cheer of the 1960’s, “Massacre,” was led by members of the Marching Chiefs, and the first stage of the current popular Seminole chant began. In a sense, “Massacre,” was the long version of Florida State’s current “War Chant.” The chant continued to gain popularity among the student body during the 1985 season and was a stadium-wide activity by the 1986 season. The Marching Chiefs refined the chant and added their own special style to the “War Chant.”

THE TOMAHAWK CHOP The gesture known as “The Tomahawk Chop,” or simply “The Chop,” is a motion involving a repetitious bending of the arm at the elbow, intended to symbolize a tomahawk swinging down. It is one of the most widely recognized Seminole traditions and invariably accompanies the War Chant.

UNCONQUERED STATUE Constructed in 2003, the Unconquered Statue was designed to capture the indomitable spirit of the Seminole people and those who have adopted that spirit as a symbol for their university. It is a striking bronze sculpture designed and crafted by Fritz White that depicts a spear-brandishing Seminole astride a rearing horse. Including its granite-covered pedestal-base, the massive sculpture stands approximately 31 feet from ground level to the tip of the spear, which makes the statue approximately the height of a three-story building. At sunset the night before each home game, the spear is ignited and burns until sunrise the morning after the game. Lightings also occur to commemorate other major university events.



THE SPIRIT DRUM Beating the Spirit Drum has received national acclaim as one of the most prominent Seminole traditions. In 1993, Burning Spear reignited the legacy of beating the Spirit Drum continuously for 72 hours prior to the FSU vs. Miami football game. Playing the Spirit Drum is a way for the Florida State community to participate in promoting Seminole pride. The Spirit Drum makes its annual appearance prior to the Miami and UF football games. It is said that our rival teams can hear the drum, and sense our spirit, from miles away.




Josh White and Kevin Fulmer, two fervent Florida State fans and members of the Baptist Student Ministry, wanted to find a way to show their love for Florida State football. At the 1998 home opener against Duke, they painted themselves with paint and glitter and

raced around the stands encouraging fans to cheer for the team. Their impromptu display of Seminole spirit is now an essential and highly anticipated part of each football game. You’re not a true Seminole fan until you have your photo taken with the Garnet and Gold guys.


SEMINOLE UPRISING Each year, the fall semester is kicked off with the annual Seminole Uprising Pep Rally, hosted by the Seminole Student Boosters. Attended by all student athletes and their coaches, the event includes special appearances by head football coach Bobby Bowden, the Marching Chiefs, the Florida State cheerleaders, and other notable guests. In 2007, the pep rally was featured live on ESPN.

First Lady of FSU Football, Ann Bowden, at the Seminole Uprising pep rally


TRUE SEMINOLE In the fall of 2007, the Seminole Student Boosters initiated a school-wide campaign promoting school spirit and tradition. Initiator and then Student Booster President, Joe Mahshie, spearheaded the campaign with 2007-08 Student Body President, Joe O’Shea. This was an effort to unify all Seminoles under the same values of Tradition, Respect, Unity, and Excellence. TRUE Seminole is a multi-faceted campaign featuring a t-shirt program, the Burning Spear Spirit Drum, and Bobby’s TRUE Seminole Tailgate.


Pearl Tyner House, Florida State Alumni Association (Original President’s House)



HOMECOMING PARADE Each year a week of events is planned to celebrate the current Florida State students and to welcome back our alumni. The annual Homecoming Parade, hosted by the Student Alumni Association, is an integral part of the week-long celebration. With thousands of participants and spectators, College Avenue becomes the place to be for watching the parade and getting ready for the next day’s football game.


POW WOW The annual homecoming pep rally, Pow Wow, is held in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center each year. Pow Wow features performances by the FSU cheerleaders, the FSU Golden Girls, the FSU Flying High Circus, and other student organizations. Pow Wow headlines a well-known entertainer as well. Notable comedians of the past include Bill Cosby, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Fallon. The evening is concluded with the coronation of the new Homecoming Chief and Princess.

Comedian and host of NBC’s Late Night, Jimmy Fallon, performing at Pow Wow


In 1952, Marlies Gessler, was FSU’s homecoming queen and a Life Magazine cover girl

HOMECOMING CHIEF AND PRINCESS This longstanding tradition dates back to the FSCW days when only a Princess was chosen. Currently, the Student Alumni Association administers the annual Homecoming Chief & Princess elections, which choose six senior women and six senior men to represent their class. The winners are announced and crowned as the final event of PowWow. The following day, during halftime and on the 50-yard line of Doak Campbell Stadium, the newly crowned Chief and Princess are presented with authentic Seminole headdresses from members of the Seminole Tribe.

Former Homecoming Chief & Princess, Asha Fields Brewer and Dorian George




The Westcott Fountain was a gift from the Classes of 1915 and 1917. It is the most frequently photographed site on campus and a symbol of The Florida State University’s proud legacy. This fountain is also the site of one of the most enjoyable Florida State traditions: getting thrown in on your 21st birthday. This has been a long-standing tradition on campus. It’s said that you’re not truly a Florida State Seminole until you’ve been tossed into the Westcott fountain.


FRANCIS EPPES BENCH Sitting on a bench next to Westcott fountain is a statue of the man who has been declared “the founder of The Florida State University.� While the establishment of the Seminary was a collaborative effort, Francis Eppes, grandson of President Thomas Jefferson, contributed significantly by securing state recognition for the school. The statue of Eppes gazes toward the historic city limits of Tallahassee, as if he is reflecting back the criticisms that the original campus location was too far west of town. This bench is another favorite photo setting for students.

ODDS AND EVENS Each fall the women of the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) from odd numbered years would face those of the even numbered years in a series of sporting events. This Even and Odd competition was such an important event that members of the Tallahassee community would come out to watch the games and cheer on the teams.



RAT CAPS Generations of first-year students, affectionately referred to as “rats,” were required to wear the small wool beanies their first semester of school. The caps were mandatory back in the day but are now only a part of FSU’s history.



TBUF The Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida (TBUF) was created in 1946 to serve the flood of men returning from World War II for whom there was no room at the state men’s college, the University of Florida. One year later, in 1947, the Legislature returned The Florida State College for Women to coeducational status and named it The Florida State University.



THE KISSING BENCH This nondescript bench sits on the edge of Landis Green. The story of the bench was started by a member of The Florida State University administration. Supposedly a Florida State President once sat on the bench and kissed his future wife. The marker, made by the Master Craftsman Program, reads: “If this bench could talk / oh the stories it would tell / of kisses young and old. / If you sit, beware the spell.”



The Florida State University values its rich history of tradition. From the halls of Westcott to the field at Doak Campbell, our unconquered spirit resonates throughout our university. I encourage you to embrace the traditions of our beloved Alma Mater and remember that even though we are students today, we are Seminoles forever.


- Rob Jakubik, Student-Body President

SPECIAL THANK YOU Dr. Bruce Bickley Dr. Mary Coburn Rob Jakubik Joe Mahshie Jessica Rosenthal Tara Stalnaker Eddie Woodward FSU Photo Lab FSU Alumni Association Student Alumni Association Student Government Association

The Florida State University: A History of Traditions  

Brought to you by: FSU Student Alumni Association & Student Government Association

The Florida State University: A History of Traditions  

Brought to you by: FSU Student Alumni Association & Student Government Association