University Traditions

We may take our studies seriously here at Truman, but we also know how to have fun and celebrate special ocassions. Over the years, Truman has accumulated a number of traditions.

Spike - Bulldog mascot

Bulldog Mascot

Back in 1915, the student body was discouraged after the football team experienced a losing streak that lasted several seasons. To revive school spirit, a committee suggested adopting the bulldog as a team mascot because of its tenacity and ability to hold on and fight until the end. The baseball team played under the Bulldog name for the first time in the 1915 season, and the football team began using it a year later.

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Normal School Pennant

School Colors

Purple and white—the school colors that unite Truman students, alumni and fans—date back to 1902 when Basil Brewer wrote the University's first school song which he named "The Purple and the White." The colors were adopted as the school colors and have become a firmly established tradition.

Three girls wearing purple T-shirts

Purple Friday

Every Friday is Purple Friday at Truman! Students, faculty, and staff demonstrate their Bulldog spirit by wearing purple on campus each Friday. Purple Friday activities include student gatherings in the Student Union Building and music on the Mall.

Marching Band


This fun week-long celebration, which occurs annually in October, has taken place on campus since 1939. Homecoming still features a pep rally, parade, and team competitions to encourage school pride and spirit. More recently, activities such as the lip sync competition, tailgate, and a 5K run/walk have become part of the festivities. Many alumni return to campus to help celebrate Homecoming, one of the University's most cherished traditions.

Spirit Day

National Spirit Day

On the first Friday in October, everyone is invited to show their Truman pride by wearing Bulldog purple or Truman apparel and by decorating their homes, offices, and vehicles with Truman gear.

The Big Event

The Big Event has become one of the largest one-day, student-run service projects hosted nationwide.It allows students to show their appreciation to the surrounding community for their continued support. Through the help of the SERVE Center, Truman students are matched with job sites around town. The job sites included simple service acts such as trimming bushes, raking leaves and washing windows for residents of the community

Weathervane on Kirk Memorial

Weathervane on Kirk Memorial

It’s no accident or malfunction that the weathervane atop Kirk Memorial hasn’t changed directions since July 1, 1996. When the University's name was changed from Northeast Missouri State University to Truman State University, the weathervane was welded in place to permanently point northeast in honor of the school’s history. When a new cupola was installed in 2013, its weathervane was also welded in place to continue the tradition. You can now find the original cupola near the entrance to the Ruth Town Museum and Visitors Center.

Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden Lore

The Sunken Garden—an area that marks the former location of the very first Baldwin Hall which was destroyed by a fire in 1924—is the site of many weddings. Perhaps this is because a campus myth says that if a couple first kisses at midnight on one of the benches in the garden, they will eventually marry.