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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 26 · Number 1 · Fall 2008

Lost Traditions

Pity the poor freshmen of yore. They were tossed into the irrigation tank, prohibited from planting their derrieres on the senior bench and ordered to display their newbie status by wearing certain articles of clothing — bib overalls in the early years giving way later to freshman beanies or “frosh dinks.”

UC Davis Centennial

For more about the UC Davis Centennial, visit the Centennial Web site. Here you'll find a listing of the year's special events, postings of alumni recollections, additional information about the campus's history and traditions, and more.

Or save the sympathy. Aggies—or Mustangs, as University Farm students used to call themselves—prided themselves on being farm tough as well as friendly. In the campus’s formative days, students roused pre-game spirit with “smoker rallies” that featured free cigarettes, rounds of cheers and songs, and wrestling and boxing matches. And truth be told, first-year students did get a fighting chance at the annual Frosh-Soph Brawl—throwing their year-older rivals into the tank, knocking them off their classmates’ shoulders in the joust or dragging them through the mud in the tug-of-war. Sometimes the freshmen even won.

Still, for whatever reason, the class battles that once dominated campus activities have disappeared. But many old UC Davis traditions are still thriving—Picnic Day is still going strong after nearly 100 years, and Pajamarino, derived from pre-game rallies as early as 1919, continues to kick off Homecoming weekend. But many other events have melted away like the prize butter once made at the University Farm dairy. In honor of UC Davis’ Centennial, we take a look at some of those bygone traditions.

Frosh-Soph Brawl

The Tank Rush


Exam A

Junior Beard Rally

Frosh Dinks

Wild West Days



Kathleen Holder is the associate editor of UC Davis Magazine.