The University of Texas may be one of the most famous schools in the world, but that does not mean it doesn’t have its secrets. One of the biggest schools in the world is home to amazing football games and incredible classes, but also famous art, secret societies, and wizarding sporting teams.
1. The original mascot wasn’t Bevo
During the early 20th century, UT was not represented by the now-famous Bevo – instead, a plucky pup named Pig held that honor. After being brought to campus in 1914, the students of UT fell in love with Pig and the dog spent most of his time wandering the campus. At night, he’d sleep in his preferred spot – the stairs underneath the co-op. When Pig was hit by a car several years later, the students of UT marched his casket down the Drag and gave him a proper burial and eulogy. His grave marker read “Pigs gone…Doggone.”
2. A ton of famous celebrities attended school at UT
Everyone knows some of UT’s famous alumni – Lady Bird Johnson, Tom Landry, and Laura Bush are all pretty notable. But the list extends far past them. Wes Anderson, Matthew McConaughey, Janis Joplin, Farrah Fawcett, and Owen Wilson all attended UT as well – even John Hamm came for a semester. So make sure to buddy up to your more talented classmates – you have no idea who may make it big!
Even celebs bleed burnt orange!
3. The original Bevo was barbequed for dinner
As most UT students know, we’re on Bevo number 15. And while most of the other Bevos have died peacefully, Bevo I was met with a harsher fate. Bevo I was a rowdy animal, so the university housed him outside of Austin. The university later decided Bevo was too expensive to keep and fattened him up for slaughter, and at the January 1920 football banquet, Bevo was served as dinner! The Texas A&M football team was invited to attend, and their main course was the university’s old mascot. Fortunately, the current Bevo will not be slaughtered for food, but rather live out a peaceful and happy life representing UT in greener pastures.
4. UT has a Lego replica of Darrel K Royal Stadium
If you were a Lego fan as a kid (or still are a Lego fan, because let’s be honest, they are awesome), be sure to stop by the Student Activity Center to see a 2.5 feet replica of Darrel K Royal stadium made entirely out of Legos. UT Alumnus Drew Finkel created the stadium over a period of several months, and the stadium features a tiny Bevo, a working jumbotron, and Big Bertha herself.
Now we just need the Co-Op to start selling sets
5. The Harry Ransom Center is a trove of treasures
Everyone has passed by the famed Harry Ransom Center at some point in the UT career, but not everyone has seen the incredible things the research center has to offer. One of the remaining Gutenberg Bibles and the world’s very first photograph both call the Harry Ransom Center home. A quick walk upstairs, and you’ll have access to some of the rarest books in the world. And even if you’ve been to the HRC a thousand times, they always have rotating exhibits, so you’ll never get bored.
6. Campus is watched over by a mysterious secret society
As the song goes, “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You.” But at UT, the eyes really are upon you – or at least, the secret society, entitled The Eyes of Texas, have their eyes on you in an attempt to make campus a better place. Founded in 1975, the organization has a strict anonymity policy for its members, so you would really never know if you had met a member or not. The organization awards outstanding staff, faculty, and students every year. But they also spread spirit, surprise students with treats, and generally make campus a better place. Too bad we’ll never know who they are!
7. You can join a real quidditch team
Any Harry Potter fan, or, at this point, almost every person on the planet, has heard of the wizarding sport of quidditch. But if you’re a UT student, you don’t just have to daydream at flying on a broom. UT has its very own team where students throw bludgers, score with quaffles, and chase the snitch. UT’s varsity team is one of the world’s best, and they’ve won the quidditch world cup, or the world championship, every year since 2012. UT even lights the tower orange to honor the athletes’ victory.
Just try to tell these guys quidditch isn’t a real sport
8. The tower bells aren’t just for announcing the time
If you’ve ever walked around campus, odds are you’ve heard the iconic UT tower sound at the top of the hour. But if you listen a little closer, you may be lucky enough to hear something a little more special. Between classes, the tower can often be heard not only announcing the time but also playing music. If you are on campus at the right time, you might hear songs ranging from Christmas carols to Disney musical soundtracks to the Star Wars theme song. And when the Westboro Baptist Church came to UT in 2013, the tower blasted Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” in protest. And of course, the Tower proudly plays “The Eyes of Texas” towards the evening to end each beautiful day on the Forty Acres.
9. There is a real farm on campus
UT might be stuck in the middle of metropolitan Austin, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your gardening habit. A few years ago, UT’s micro-farm was founded as a way for students to experience farming life while providing food for the community. The micro-farm feeds some of the UT dining halls, an on-campus farm stand, and community food shelters. The farm is open to drop-in volunteers on workdays, so if you’re ever wanting to escape the urban life, help out at the university’s very own farm!
10. UT is home to the world’s largest Texas flag
They say everything is bigger in Texas, UT is no exception. For those of you filled with Texas pride, the university has the world’s largest Texas flag! Usually, the flag is brought out during the football games, where it covers almost the entirety of the field, but it can also be seen dropped from the town. The members of Alpha Pi Omega have the honor of running the flag, so rush their fraternity or become friends with a member to maybe get a glimpse of the flag in person!
The best school gets the biggest flag!
Images Courtesy of Sol Neelman, Phil Roeder, Youtube, and Tumblr.