Every great university, especially one nearing its 150th birthday, develops beloved traditions that draw its students, faculty, staff, and alumni together. From the classical, Latin-inscribed university seal to the joyous Waving the Wheat, KU cherishes its distinctive identity.
Perhaps the best-known KU tradition is the Jayhawk itself — a hybrid of blue jay and sparrow hawk that epitomized the quarrelsome pre-Civil War settlers on the Kansas frontier. It's been identified with KU since our founding, morphing from a long-legged smiler through a pugnacious war bird to the 194r "happy Jayhawk" that represents us today.
When you see a Jayhawk, you're likely to hear the Rock Chalk Chant. Since the late 1880s, its two long, low, Gregorian-like phrases followed by three quick repetitions have been recognized around the world. Those four words say it all:
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!