Big Ten Traditions

As a Big Ten school, the University of Minnesota offers great academics, exciting athletics, rich traditions, and a vibrant campus community. Read on to learn more about life as a Golden Gopher student!

What Makes Student Life on a Big Ten Campus So Exciting?

As a student at the U of M, you’ll join a campus community full of students, faculty and staff who are bursting with pride and school spirit. From weekly events like Maroon and Gold Fridays to annual campus-wide events such as Homecoming, you will discover just how passionate we are about being Golden Gophers!

From chanting the Minnesota Rouser (our school song) to the marching band (300+ members strong) to cheerleading (we invented it ... no kidding!), the University of Minnesota offers you an electric campus atmosphere and exciting events.

Pride & Spirit

Goldy Gopher

Minnesota gained its nickname as the Gopher State in 1857, and the University of Minnesota football team began to refer to themselves as the Gophers in the 1920s. Goldy is one of the most energetic mascots in the country, and consistently ranks among the best college mascots! Read up on Goldy’s history!

Maroon and Gold

The colors of the University of Minnesota were chosen in 1880 for “proper” graduation ribbons. You can get in the Gopher spirit by participating in Maroon and Gold Fridays! And Goldy recognizes student spirit by handing out prizes to students wearing maroon and gold.


Ski-U-Mah (pronounced SKY-YOU-MAH) is a cheer Gophers have been screaming since 1884, when two Minnesota rugby players, John W. Adams and Win Sargent, created the word as a new rugby team cheer. The word caught on and was eventually incorporated into both official school songs, “Hail Minnesota” and more commonly in the “Minnesota Rouser.”

History & Tradition

University of Minnesota Marching Band

Officially started in 1892, the Minnesota Marching Band is one of the most vibrant and visible organizations on campus. With more than 300 members, the "Pride of Minnesota" performs at all home football games and at an annual indoor concert at Northrop Auditorium. Pep bands perform at basketball, hockey, and volleyball events throughout the year as well. Check out the marching band!


Cheerleading had its start at the University of Minnesota. In 1898, U of M student Johnny Campbell offered to lead cheers at football games. After Campbell and his “yell leaders” pepped up the crowd during a 17-6 Gopher victory over Northwestern, the tradition of cheerleading was born. That great tradition continues today, with the cheerleading and dance teams performing at all home football games and many hockey and basketball games. In fact, the U of M dance team won four straight national championships in 2003-2006!

Minnesota Rouser (University of Minnesota Fight Song)

The Minnesota Rouser was the result of a Minneapolis Tribune newspaper contest in 1909 to come up with a fight song for the University. Sung at all sporting events, the Rouser is one of the best traditions in all of college sports!

Making of the M

Minnesota, Hats off to thee!
To thy colors, true we shall ever be,
Firm and strong, united are we.
Rah! Rah! Rah! for Ski-U-Mah,
Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah for the U of M.
M - I - N - N - E - S - O - T - A!
Yeaaaaaaah Gophers!


The University of Minnesota has a long-standing tradition of excellence both inside and outside the classroom!

  • The men’s hockey team won back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003, bringing their grand total to five.
  • The Golden Gopher football team has been crowned national champions six times, ranking them seventh all-time in recognized football national championships. To date, the Minnesota Gophers are the only football team to win three straight national championships (1934, 1935, and 1936).
  • The women’s hockey team has won three national championships, including back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005.

Just as important as the play on the field is the student support for athletics at the University.

  • Watch the Gopher football team at the TCF Bank Stadium! Jingle keys before kick-offs or remove one of your shoes to show support for a field goal.
  • Celebrate Gopher hockey at Mariucci Arena by celebrating a weekend “sweep” of a rival school
  • Join the crowd at Williams Arena, “The Barn”, one of the most intimidating and loud venues in all of college basketball! Surround the opposing team (the student section extends lower than the playing surface, literally!) and get excited for Gopher basketball.

Student support at the U of M is a long-standing and proud tradition. We welcome all students and fans to join in!

TCF Bank Stadium

In September 2009, Golden Gopher football returned back to campus with the inaugural season in the state-of-the-art TCF Bank Stadium. TCF Bank Stadium isn’t just a football venue. It’s the newest component of U of M heritage, and it’s a place that our whole community loves and enjoys. The stadium is open-air horseshoe design constructed with 97 percent recycled steel. With the third largest outdoor scoreboard in college football and the largest locker room in both collegiate and professional football, the stadium is home to Golden Gopher Football and the University of Minnesota Marching Band. On game days, you'll see more than 50,000 fans headed to the stadium, donning maroon and gold and excited to cheer their Gophers on to victory!

Annual Events

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is an action-packed experience that you will share with your classmates the week before classes begin. This program includes events planned to connect and welcome you to the campus, your college, and the Twin Cities community. During the program you will have an opportunity to:

  • participate in New Student Convocation, the traditional kickoff to your college experience
  • build a sense of community
  • take ownership of your college experiences
  • lead and work among students from diverse backgrounds
  • establish relationships with your classmates
  • discover the incredible resources and opportunities available to you
  • learn about U of M school spirit and traditions at Pride and Spirit Day


Homecoming is the annual fall tradition where the campus community, alumni and friends gather to celebrate school spirit. A tradition at the University of Minnesota since 1914, Homecoming features events such as student sports and philanthropy competitions, lip sync performances, a bonfire, pep fest and parade, the traditional Gopher homecoming football game, and more.

Spring Jam

Spring Jam is a week-long celebration in April that celebrates warm weather and the end of another great school year. This U of M student-run event features concerts, a student band competition, ballyhoo (a dance competition), sports, an art festival, philanthropy, contests, free food, and an outdoor campus community block party.

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