From a lovable feline to an all-campus fiesta, the University of Houston builds community and generates fun with a variety of time-honored traditions. Most individual colleges have their own traditions, too, ranging from 'The Follies', a generation-old law school tradition where students spend months organizing skits parodying their professors, to the annual Engineering Golf Tournament, where golfers raise money to support the Cullen College of Engineering. Here are just a few of the traditions that the University celebrates as a whole:
- Each year, the University celebrates Frontier Fiesta. Dating back to 1940, this student-run event features free live concerts, variety shows by student organizations, carnival booths, multicultural performances, and a world-class BBQ cook-off.
- The University of Houston Class Ring So many University of Houston traditions reside in the hearts of students and alumni, but the UH class ring is the only tradition that is always with you. The ring is presented each semester at a formal ring ceremony. Tradition dictates that current students must wear the ring facing inward, with only alumni wearing the ring facing outward. Learn more about purchasing your class ring and the ring ceremony on the Houston Alumni Organization website.
- At sporting events, the campus rallies around Shasta, UH's cougar mascot. Between 1947 and 1989, five live cougars served as mascots; since Shasta V's death in 1989, costumed students have carried on the tradition.
- At game time, Cougar fans show their support by making the "cougar sign," made by folding the ring finger of the right hand toward the palm. The tradition dates back to 1953, when Shasta I, the presiding cougar mascot, lost a toe in a cage door on her way to a game. The opposing team, the University of Texas, mocked UH by imitating the cougar's injury. The Cougars soon adopted that gesture as a symbol of pride.
- Another game-time tradition calls for our Cougar mascots to perform pushups for each point scored during a football game.
- The UH Frontiersmen display the Texas flag and the University of Houston flag at football games. They were established in 1948 to promote Cougar sprit. The Frontiersmen’s primary purpose is to support UH in any and all endeavors. Their three main areas of concentration are athletics, school spirit and Frontier Fiesta. As individuals, Frontiersmen play a very active role on campus and hold many key positions of student leadership. Frontiersmen are also very involved with off campus events and charities, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Sunshine Kids, Cougar Cookers, and “H” Association events. The Frontiersmen also act as ambassadors for the University of Houston and the State of Texas. In 1996 the Frontiersmen displayed the Texas Flag along side the University of Houston Flag at football games as part of our respect and obligation to represent the State of Texas as the only member from Texas in Conference USA.
- The BLAZE The BLAZE is operated by the FROTNIERSMEN and is an oil field warning siren that was chosen to represent the University's ties to the petroleum industry. In the late 80’s, Coach Jack Pardee, Andre Ware and David Daucus felt that the University lacked a symbol for the football team. An oil field warning siren was and by 1991, through a number of refinements by the efforts of the “H” Association, the Taxi Squad, Pleas Doyle and the Hruska Family, the purchase of the siren was complete. In the fall of 1991 a group of students manned a crank siren while waiting for the new siren to arrive. The siren did not arrive until late that football season, the day before Homecoming.
That summer David Carl Blazek passed away. David was a staunch supporter of the University and his death was a blow to the original men who ran the siren. The Sigma Chi Fraternity had been in charge of the siren up to this point and gave it the name “The BLAZE” in honor of their fallen brother. To this day, every time that the BLAZE is sounded off, the University hears the voice of David Carl Blazek.
- The official colors of the University of Houston are Scarlet Red and Albino White, the colors of Sam Houston's ancestor, Sir Hugh. Scarlet Red represents "the blood of royalty that was spared due to the timely arrival of Sir Hugh and the blood that is the life source of the soul." Albino White denotes "the purity and perfections of the heart, mind and soul engaged in the effort to serve faithfully that which is by right and reason, justfully served." In other words, the red stands for courage or inner strength to face the unknown, and the white stands for the good of helping one's fellow man.
- The Official Seal of arms of General Sam Houston, as handed down to him from noble ancestors. The simple Escutcheon in the center of the seal consists of checkered chevrons denoting nobility, and three Martlets, gentle Lowland birds symbolizing peace and deliverance. A winged hourglass is above the shield and surmounting this, the motto, “In Tempore” (In Time). Greyhounds were placed at the sides to indicate the speed in giving aid. The seal was adopted by UH in 1938 in conjunction with the construction of the campus. The first official version was placed on the floor of the Roy Cullen Building.
- The Cougar Fight Song
Cougars fight for dear old U of H
For our Alma Mater cheer.
Fight for Houston University
For victory is near.
When the going gets so rough and tough
We never worry cause we got the stuff.
So fight, fight, fight for red and white
And we will go to victory.
Lyrics: Forest Fountain • Music: Marion Ford
- The Alma Mater
All hail to thee,
Our Houston University.
Our hearts fill with gladness
When we think of thee.
We’ll always adore thee
Dear old varsity.
And to thy memory cherished,
True we’ll ever be.
Words and music by Harmony Class of 1942