Where Did the Ram Mascot come from?

In 1924 Vic Huggins, UNC's head cheerleader, decided that Carolina needed a mascot like N.C. State's Wolf and Georgia's Bulldog. At the time, Jack Merrit, known to his fans as the "Battering Ram," was a popular member of UNC's football team. Making use of this nickname, Huggins hit upon the idea of a ram as the Carolina mascot.

The cheerleader went to Charles T. Woollen, the University's Business Manager, and asked him to find twenty-five dollars to buy a ram. They ordered UNC's first mascot from Texas.

The 1924 team had been in a slump and Carolina fans were looking for something to break the jinx. The Tar Heel sports staff joined the campus in hoping that the new mascot would bring the much-needed luck.

The mascot, who was named Rameses, arrived in time for the UNC vs. VMI game on 8 November 1924. The fans saw a defensive struggle. No one scored until late in the fourth quarter when a UNC player executed a perfect dropkick for a 3-0 victory. Carolina fans credited the first Rameses' presence for pulling Carolina past VMI, and giving birth to the long line of rams who have witnessed Tar Heel games.

What is the correct spelling of Tar Heel as it pertains to the University?

The proper spelling of the name is "Tar Heel," not "Tarheel."

When did the University of North Carolina open and when did it admit its first students?

North Carolina's 1776 constitution called for the creation of an institution of higher learning, but the state's General Assembly did not charter the University of North Carolina until December 1789. A site for the University was located in 1792, and the cornerstone of the University's first building was laid on October 12, 1793, which is now celebrated as University Day. The University opened its doors on January 15, 1795, but the first student, Hinton James, did not arrive until February 12, 1795.

Was the University of North Carolina the first state university?

A friendly debate rages between the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina concerning which school can accurately claim the distinction of first state university. The University of Georgia claims the title based on the fact that it was chartered before the University of North Carolina (1785 versus 1789). The University of North Carolina bases its claim on the fact that it opened its doors on January 15, 1795 and accepted the first student on February 12, 1795, which made it the only state university to graduate students in the eighteenth century. The University of Georgia did not open until 1801; by then the University of North Carolina had graduated three classes.

Why are UNC's colors white and light blue?

As symbols of unity among Carolina students, alumni, and fans, the school colors of light blue and white were first used around 1800 to distinguish between members of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Literary Societies. Throughout the nineteenth century, students were required to be members of either the Di or the Phi. The Di's color was light blue, and the Phi's was white.

At University commencements, balls, and other social events, the student officials, managers, and marshals wore the color of their society, blue or white. Because the Chief Marshal or Chief Ball Manager represented the whole student body, not just his society, he wore both colors.

When the University fielded its first intercollegiate athletic teams in 1888, the question of what colors to wear had already been answered. Light blue and white had come to symbolize membership in the University, not in a single society.

Light blue and white have been considered the University's colors for more than a century. With the tradition so firmly established, a popular bumper sticker states that God must be a Tar Heel because he made the sky Carolina Blue!

How did the Yackety Yack (the student yearbook) get its name?

In an article in the Chapel Hill Newspaper of March 30, 1975, the editor of the Yack, Joyce Fitzpatrick, said, "Well -- yackety yack was a popular cheerleader yell in those days. And it was also a phrase picked up by students to startle professors standing around on campus talking."

The Students' Hand Book of the University of North Carolina from 1901-1902 does have the following "University Yell":

Hackie, Hackie, Hackie, Sis Boom Bah, Carolina, Carolina, Rah Rah Rah.

Boom Ray Ray, Boom Ray Ray, Carolina Varsity, Sis Boom Tar Heel.

Yackety Yack Hooray Hooray, Yackety Yack Hooray Hooray, Carolina Varsity, Boom Rah Boom Rah, Car--o--li--na.