|A review of year
books, student handbooks and other materials at SJSU's Special Collection
reveals that throughout the years, various traditions were followed or
celebrated on campus. These range from Homecoming festivities, still
carried out in some form today, to Noon Dances, a tradition no longer
carried out on campus. Many of the traditions seem more like activities we
would see at a high school today and reflect a student body that probably
didn't have to work as many hours as many SJSU students work today.
Following are reprints from student handbooks explaining various
Spardi Gras Spartan
by Vicky Rotarova
Source: 1926 San Jose Teachers
College Student Handbook and Frosh Bible, page 13.
Customs and Traditions
Student Body Dances
come every other week.
Noon Dances are
held every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:00 o'clock.
Student Body Jolly-Up
is held at the beginning of the new semester.
Hello Day is held
every semester for the purpose of getting acquainted.
Women's Jinx takes
place in the fall of the year. Fancy dress affair.
Men's Club Banquet
- "Stag affair" - held each semester.
A.W.S. Dinner. Once
a semester. Every woman in college goes.
Junior College Prom also
held every fall semester. A looked-forward-to dance.
Junior College Picnic.
Every member of the Junior College goes. Held in the spring term.
Senior Ball. The
big dance of the spring session.
Spring Fete in May
held in the last week of the spring semester. Alumni return to take part.
Tie-Up is held
every semester. A struggle for supremacy between the Sophs and the
incoming freshmen. A real battle which takes place in the quad.
Men's Club Dance,
which takes place during the fall semester, usually in the last few weeks
of the school, is one of the best affairs of the year.
Source: San Jose State
College Campus Compass 1949-1950, pages 10
The old bell which hangs in the small tower at the right of the
main entrance is worthy of a brief eulogy. It was bought and installed in
the brick building in 1881 at a cost of $1,217.00, and was rung regularly
at eight o'clock each morning until the earthquake in 1906 stilled its
voice. When the new building was constructed in 1909 a specially designed
tower was built to house the bell.
It was rung on special
occasions until the college obtained the new chimes in 1946.
For many years each graduating class had contributed to a fund
for the purchase of Carillon chimes to be placed in the Tower. Through the
efforts of the Class of '46 the plans were completed and the chimes
installed. They are heard at graduation and on all special occasions.
The chimes heard each quarter hour are the Westminster Chimes
which were the gift of the Class of '47. They ring out the same tones that
are heard from the famous Big Ben in England.
Guarded exclusively by members of Tau Delta Phi, men's honor
fraternity, the tower room has been known for years as the spot on campus
where no women are allowed. Wild rumors circulate as to the punishment
inflicted upon co-eds successful enough to gain entrance to the sacred
One of the proudest traditions of the college is that of
service. During World War I, thirty-five men from the small enrollment
served overseas. The service flag honoring them is now in the Treasure
room in the college library.
During World War II, more than 4,000 Spartans entered the armed
services. For each of these former students a star was placed on one of
the large service flags which hung in the Morris Dailey auditorium. These
flags, made by the Inter-Society Council, under the direction of Miss
Helen Dimmick and Mrs. Izetta Pritchard, serve as a symbol and reminder of
our fellow students who so courageously gave their services to our
country. On Memorial Day, the student veterans on campus hold an
impressive assembly in which the flags are removed from the Treasure room
and placed in the college's auditorium. They will be kept in the Treasure
room until the Memorial chapel is built and then will be given a prominent
Recognition Day Assembly
Once a year during spring quarter, the college pauses to give
recognition to students who have proved themselves outstanding in
scholarship, activities, and sports. It is at this time that awards are
presented and the new members of Black Masque and Spartan Spears, two
women's honorary groups are announced.
High School Sweaters
No man is allowed to wear his high school block or a block from
any other college on campus. A high school or college sweater is
permissible if the block is removed.
On campus it is a tradition that no one smokes in the Quad or
buildings, observed not only for its own sake, or because it helps keep
our Quad neat, but it bolsters in however small a way the morale of the
Spartans. The only building in which smoking is permitted is the Student
Union, upstairs, and in the Spartan Fountain, below.
[See Cartoon - click here.]
Whenever the Hymn is sung, Spartan men and women stand; men
remove their hats. The college hymn is highly respected by all Spartans.
It is usually sung at the end of football games and is played on the
chimes at graduation exercises.
The term "Spartans" was originally the name applied
to our athletic representatives. More recently, it has become the term
used for all members of the student body, as the school has been referred
to as "Sparta."
A heated debate was held in 1925 over the effort of some
students to change the school colors from gold and white to purple and
white. Tradition won out, and it was decided to keep the original colors -
Gold and White. This same issue came before the students again in 1946,
when after many weeks of discussion, the question was voted on. Once again
Fairness with respect to examinations, other written
assignments, and grades - both on the part of the faculty and on the part
of the students - has been much discussed at San Jose State. Neither an
"honor system" which places all responsibility on the students,
nor a "policy system" which places all responsibility on the
faculty, seems to meet our present needs. Instead, we are seeking to
foster a "campus system" which unites students and faculty as
partners for good citizenship. The recommendations of the Fairness
Committee for the conduct of examinations and related matters are designed
to combat the false belief that cheating is necessary for success, and to
protect the great majority of students in their preference for honest
work. Any deviation from fair practices should be reported to some member
of the Fairness Committee, the chairman of which is Professor Elmo
Let's make fairness a tradition at San Jose State - it is up to us!
Traditions By and For Freshmen as Noted in the 1960 La Torre
The annual Quadrangle
Conference attended by Cal, Stanford, San Francisco State and SJS.
A faculty auction.
A Spartan from the Start
- handbook for frosh that included information on school government,
rules and customs, organizations, as well as photos of the campus
Freshman Camp - a three-day
activity held at Asilomar in Monterey, sponsored by Associated
Students. Camp featured group discussions, games, entertainment, and
time to become acquainted with San Jose State.
and Spartan Revelries
Based on information from the La
Torre yearbooks, Spardi Gras was first held on Washington's birthday
in 1929. It was described in the 1929 yearbook as follows:
"Another event which met
with unprecedented participance by the entire student body was the first
annual Spardi Gras or Hobo Day on Washington's Birthday, a gala occasion
of play, sport, and merrymaking later authorized by the Executive Board as
an annual event because of its great success."
The last entry about Spardi Gras
appears in the 1950 yearbook.
Another longstanding event in
SJSU's past is "Spartan Revelries" described as follows in the
1960 La Torre:
"Spartan Revelries has been
a tradition on the San Jose State College campus for more than thirty
years. This all-student college musical event is written, produced, and
presented entirely by students, and any student on the campus may
participate in its production. The first Revelries, as a full-fledged
musical comedy is shrouded in mystery. Some sources indicated that it
began in 1929 as a grand finale to Spardi Gras. Others suggest that it had
its beginning in 1933. At least we know that back in those days a spring
musical of some sort was represented each year. In 1930 there was a
student-written and produced show called 'Jazzmania,' which enjoyed
tremendous success. In 1949 a Revelries Board was established to carry out
the business and management of each year's show, which has grown to be an
event requiring the efforts of many students and several months of
The last yearbook mention of
Spartan Revelries was 1962.
Sparta Camp was an annual event
from probably 1953 to 1965 based on La Torre information. It was
held every spring at Asilomar and was open to all students with an
interest in student government. Students had to apply to go. The students
attending had opportunities to attend workshops and discussion groups on
Freshman Camp was held in
September at Asilomar to help new students get oriented to the campus and
the "Spirit of Sparta." Students had to apply to
attend. The picture below is from Freshman Camp (from La Torre).
This retreat was sponsored by Associated Students.