Posted on Nov 7, 2014 in Alumni News and News
We want to know: which Jayhawk is the favorite of KU alumni? Cast your vote in our fun poll by December 31!
To assist you in the voting process, here’s a brief refresher on the history and rich tradition of our beloved mascot.
The story of the Jayhawk begins not with the bird, but with the word, which originated during the historic struggles of Kansas settlers in the 1850s. The name describes a bird that was a cross between a blue jay and a sparrow hawk, both of which displayed fierce, aggressive, even predatory traits. As Free State and anti-slavery forces struggled for control of Territorial Kansas, “Jayhawkers” most often described Free Staters who fought as vigilantes against Missouri “Border Ruffians” aligned with the Confederacy. The outcome of the Civil War and the end of slavery added luster to the word, and Kansans since then have worn it as a badge of proud history.
The University of Kansas informally adopted the term Jayhawk in 1886. Professor E.H.S. Bailey and his science club students adopted the famous rallying cry “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk,” and it remains one of the college world’s most distinctive chants to this day. KU student Henry Maloy drew the first Jayhawk mascot in 1912. To review the complete history and tradition of the Jayhawk, visit http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/jayhawk.
Vote today! We’ll share the results after the start of the new year.