Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
— USC — University of Southern California —
The university’s first students filled their leisure time with a sedate mix of literary societies, debates, chapel services and an occasional dance. But by the early 20th century, USC’s students had developed a campus culture marked by an elaborate set of rules and traditions that were governed largely by class standing.
At the top of the heap were the seniors, who enjoyed such privileges as a bench reserved exclusively for their use and the right to don “sombreros,” defined as any felt hat with a straight brim. Only juniors and seniors were allowed to wear corduroy trousers on campus.
Lowly freshmen bore the brunt of the rules. Men were ordered to wear special hats, while women were forbidden to wear hats on campus and were required to wear green armbands above the elbows of their left arms. All freshmen were supposed to avoid the walks of Old College, the university’s second building, and Bovard Administration Building,
Throughout the year, the different classes held athletic con¬tests, some involving conventional sports, like the baseball game between the faculty and seniors, and some decidedly unorthodox. In one muddy contest, the fresh¬man and sophomore classes rushed a greased 25-foot-tall pole set up on the old athletic field and attempted to be the first to plant their class’s flag at the top.
The rivalries persisted almost to Commencement. During Senior Sneak Day, the seniors cut classes and picnicked at the beach while the underclassmen held a mock funeral to commemo¬rate the passing of the graduating class. Ivy Day, how¬ever, named for the seniors' tradition of planting an ivy vine alongside Old College, marked the end of the class rivalries: the presidents of the junior and senior class finally buried a symbolic hatchet and smoked a peace pipe.
By the 1940s, with USC growing into a major university, most of these traditions had died out. But their memory remains a nostalgic remnant of earlier times.
Erected 1996 by USC History Project, USC Alumni Association. Sponsored by USC Class of 1996.
Location. 34° 1.262′ N, 118° 17.083′ W. Marker is in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is at the intersection of Trousdale Parkway and Hellman Way, on the right when traveling north on Trousdale Parkway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Los Angeles CA 90089, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Meeting of the USC Board of Trustees (within shouting distance of this marker); The Founding of USC (within shouting distance of this marker); An International University (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ceasar Estrada Chavez (about 300 feet away); A Gathering Place (about 300 feet away); A Changing Campus (about 300 feet away); Student Media (about 400 feet away); Gwynn Wilson Student Union (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Angeles.
More about this marker. It has a number of illustrations beginning (clockwise from upper left) with a postcard view of the Student Union; “Scrubbing the sidewalk in front of Bovard Administration Building was one of the many indignities suffered by freshmen in 1922;” “During the ‘color rush,’ freshmen and sophomores braved the mud on old Bovard Field to be first to plant their flag on top of the greased pole;” “Ivy Day ceremonies;” “junior and senior class presidents burying the hatchet—literally and figuratively;” “smoking the peace pipe;” a poster for the Pajamarino; and a flyer spelling out freshmen rules for the class of 1919.
Also see . . . USC Yell Leaders. “On October 21, 1922, during the half-time show of the USC/Nevada game, the first card stunt was born. The stunt they had created spelled out a word. With each letter...T-R-O-J-A-N-S, the crowd erupted with the fire that Lindley believed in. The card stunts caught on quickly at many other schools but Lindley Bothwell owns the title of the very first one.” (Submitted on February 19, 2019.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on February 19, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 19, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 58 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 19, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.