Traditions

Stepping on the seal!

While more of a superstition than a tradition, rumor has it that if students step on the University seal, located on the floor of the main lobby in the Reynolds Club, they WILL NOT graduate in four years.

Knowing the Alma Mater

Encourage your student to be among the few, proud University of Chicago students who actually know the words to their alma mater. View the words online.

The Story of Cobb Gate and the Gargoyles

The gargoyles on the gate that faces 57th Street are said to represent the progression of every University of Chicago student. At the base are the largest figures, said to be the Admissions Counselor and College Examiner defying ready passage. Above them are the first-years, struggling to keep their footing on the slippery academic slope. The second-years, looking slightly more stable, scurry ahead. Snarling at the second-year students to keep them at a distance, the third-year students strain to reach the top. The fourth-years, of course, stand proudly at the educational pinnacle. Gargoyles can be found in many more locations around campus as well, turning up almost every time you turn your head while on campus grounds.

Shake Day

Every Wednesday is Shake Day on campus. Students can purchase a milk shake for just $1 at the C-Shop/Einstein Bros. ’ Bagels in the Reynolds Club.

Scavenger Hunt

This more than twenty year tradition has certainly become a student favorite and usually earns the College a mention on all of the local news stations each spring. Beginning at midnight on a Thursday and ending about four days later, students are challenged with tasks that require them to do everything from building an aquarium to obtaining a live elephant. Visit the Scav Hunt website to read previous lists and see pictures.

Former Big Ten Warriors

In the early days, the University of Chicago fought on the playing field against the mighty Big Ten powerhouses of the day. In fact, the Chicago won the very first Big Ten title and was home to the first Heisman Trophy winner, Jay Berwanger, AB‘36. Read about the history of Chicago Athletics.

A Bit of History at the Regenstein

On December 2, 1942, famed physicist Enrico Fermi led a team of scientists to create the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on earth underneath the stands of the University of Chicago’s football stadium, Stagg Field. The Regenstein Library occupies that spot today.

The Winner’s Circle

Directly across from Cobb Hall is the C-Bench, a large semicircular stone bench that was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century, and given to the University by the Class of 1903. For quite some time, only varsity letterman and their dates were allowed to occupy the bench. However, this all changed in the 1960 ’s. Today, the bench provides a social gathering point for students and is a favorite of those enjoying a break from their classes in buildings nearby. The bench is also said to be acoustically perfect.

A Gathering Place for the World

The World ’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893, attracting millions of people to the city and the Hyde Park area. When civic leaders were granted the fair, they immediately chose to place it in Jackson Park and on the Midway Plaisance adjacent to the new University, because this was the most interesting and beautiful location in the city.   

Orientation

Each year since 1934, the University of Chicago has set time aside before classes begin to provide an introduction to the University for all new students. Faculty, staff, and current students work together to help students new to the College register for their classes and get to know Chicago—both the city and the school.