The University of South Florida is a young university, yet students, faculty and alumni have already established traditions and celebrations that are becoming a part of USF culture. Here are just some of those traditions that have taken root.
USF Official Logo and Colors
While USF's colors have always been green and gold, the university established a new visual identity in 2003 with the launch of a new logo and brand identity. The new logo portrays the university's aspirations toward becoming a nationally prominent Research 1 University. The green and gold color scheme uses a slightly darker green and shifts from yellow to a more golden hue. This classic design style is bold and crisp, and more versatile for a variety of needs and uses.
How the Bulls Were Born
With early name suggestions of “Desert Rats," “Florida Chickens,” and even a student election runoff with the name “Buccaneer," the “Golden Brahman” was finally selected as the official mascot of USF in November 1962. Students reasoned that, since Florida was a cattle-raising state like Texas, USF needed a mascot comparable to the Texas Longhorns mascot. In the late 1980s, the mascot evolved into the “Bulls.”
USF Mascot Rocky the Bull
Today's Rocky the Bull got his start as a toy idea for the USF Bookstore in 1965. The first Rocky was drawn as a cartoon rendition for Athletics to use in their newsletters. Rocky's image was first trademarked in 1974 and re-designed in 1986. Today's Rocky was unveiled in 2003. Rocky is a regular at USF football and basketball games and other campus and community events.
The USF Seal
The seal has been in use since the first USF catalog was published in 1959. Since 1988, the seal has been reserved for use on diplomas, academic certificates and other legal documents.
Each element of the USF seal has special meaning. The sun represents life to all living things. The lamp symbolizes learning. The globe signifies the universal expansiveness of educational opportunity and challenge. The late President Allen's own cornerstone for the university was, and is, truth and wisdom. Grace Allen, late wife of the founding president, said green and gold were selected as the school colors because the colors were "workable" and no other university in Florida had adopted green and gold as their official colors.
In 1998, the university's Faculty Senate requested the creation of a mace, a ceremonial staff used by many institutions of higher learning to show the right of academic institutions to grant degrees to graduates. USF's mace includes a gold pine cone at its top to represent growth and continuity. Eight silver semicircles, which support the pine cone, represent the eight colleges in existence at USF when the mace was commissioned. The mace is used for all USF commencement ceremonies and during the installation of university presidents.
The Stampeding Herd of Thunder
USF's Marching Band, the Herd of Thunder (HOT), first took to the field at the football season home opener against Southwest Texas State on September 11, 1999. The band's unique entrance to the field began as a running “stampede” that day and the tradition has continued ever since.
USF has held a campus Homecoming since 1964. Early Homecomings were scheduled around basketball games. Since 1997, USF Homecomings have been scheduled during football season and have been called “SuperBull.” The USF campus comes alive each fall during Homecoming week with traditional student and alumni activities.
The Scoring Celebration
There is nothing more exciting than to see the USF Bulls football team score! When they do, the USF Cheerleaders acknowledge the feat. One cheerleader does one pushup for every point atop an elevated board held up by the other cheerleaders. The USF Sun Dolls do concurrent kicks - one kick for each point.
“Go Bulls” Hand Symbol
First started as a good luck symbol for basketball free-throw shots, the “Go Bulls!” hand symbol is now used as the premier symbol of USF cheering and greetings.
Green and Gold Guys
The Green and Gold Guys and their painted bodies first appeared in 2000 as the crazy spirit idea of two freshman students. The Green and Gold guys are at all home football and basketball games and even make road game appearances. In 2003, a second painted group of students, calling themselves The Beef Studs, also took to USF spirit duty.
Retired Athletic Jerseys
USF Athletics began retiring athletic jerseys for outstanding former athletes on February 14, 1987, with the retiring of basketball jersey #30, worn by basketball forward Charlie Bradley from 1981-1985. USF jerseys have been retired in men's basketball, baseball and women's basketball. Considered a rare occurrence, college athletic jerseys are retired upon recommendation from a coach.
USF Bulls Market
A decades-old tradition, the USF Market's original venue was in the mall behind the University Center, which was eventually rebuilt and renamed the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. While the Marshall Center was under renovation, the market moved to the walkway between Cooper Hall and the Sun Dome. Today the market is back where it belongs, in the beautiful MLK Plaza behind the new Marshall Student Center. Every Wednesday during the fall and spring terms, the market fills with students, staff and faculty eager to find a bargain, eat lunch and catch up with friends and colleagues.