Traditions of the Past


From the 1920s to the 1960s, freshman students were required to wear beanies everywhere they went on campus, from their first day of school until the freshmen-sophomore tug-of-war, held during the spring semester. The beanies were known as "rat caps" for the men, and "rabbit caps" for the women.

May Day

Adele Stamp began the tradition of celebrating May Day at Maryland. May Day ceremonies featured dancing, Mortar Board tapping, and crowning of the queen.

Class Wars

What ever happened to the biting rivalry between beanie-wearing freshmen and their arch-nemesis, the sophomore class? Harken back to the days in the early part of this century when competition involved first- and second-year students playing King of the Mountain on a 120-foot iron water tower located on campus. This tradition continued until 1913 when wily sophomore Robert McCutcheon knocked down the freshman flag with a well-placed rifle volley to its staff.

Byrd Beach

Students greeted the return of springtime warmth to the campus by donning their bathing suits and stretching out along the bleachers in Byrd Stadium to study, tan, and people-watch.

Painting Water Tower

Painting class years on the tower became the preferred method of braggadocio from that point until 1937 when the unused water tower was sold for $800 by the university to supply the war effort in Europe.


Nasty tug-o'-wars in the mud still endured however, with governors and senators coming out yearly to witness the messy battle for class supremacy.