The NCAA men’s basketball tournament season is upon us and my FYE colleague, Julie Richardson, and I are ready to get caught up in the madness that is college hoops; we also love the history, traditions, and fun facts that relate to American colleges and universities. Here, we share what we think are interesting tidbits for 16 schools participating in this year’s tournament.
(1) Villanova University (Villanova, PA)
(2) Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA)
Gonzaga’s Crosby Student Center is named for crooner Bing Crosby who sang the holiday favorite, “White Christmas.” Crosby attended Gonzaga beginning in 1920 but left before graduating to pursue his singing career.
(3) Baylor University (Waco, TX)
For more than 60 years, Baylor University students have celebrated Dr. Pepper Hour with free Dr. Pepper every Tuesday afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m.
(4) Georgetown University (Washington, DC)
Established in 1789, Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university.
(5) University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA)
The mascots for Northern Iowa are TC (The Cat) Panther and TK (The Kitten) Panther.
(6) Butler University (Indianapolis, IN)
Bestselling author Kurt Vonnegut dropped out of Butler University in 1942 after failing to earn no higher than a C in his English classes.
(7) Wichita State University (Wichita, KS)
The Shocker bowling team has captured 19 national championships and attracts student bowlers from all over the world.
(8) San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
President John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address at San Diego State in 1963 (just months before he was assassinated). The President received the university’s first honorary doctorate–also the first in the California State University system.
(9) Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
Amelia Earhart was a faculty member at Purdue from 1935 until her disappearance in July 1937. She served in the Department for the Study of Careers for Women and in the Department of Aeronautics.
(10) Davidson College (Davidson, NC)
Over Family Weekend during presidential election years, the Young Democrats and College Republicans debate about relevant issues across balconies of two campus buildings named for the first two student societies founded at the college, the Eumenean Society and the Philanthropic Society.
(11) The University of Texas (Austin, TX)
The University of Texas at Austin reports 4.7 million on-campus dining transaction per year, which includes serving 496,572 locally-made tortilla.
(12) Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC)
According to Sports Illustrated, Wofford (6) outranked Ohio State (7) in 2007 for best uniforms in college football.
(13) Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
John Harvard’s statue famously presides over Harvard Yard–except it isn’t actually John Harvard. A stand-in, namely Sherman Hoar, sat in as the model.
(14) University at Albany, State University of New York (Albany, NY)
Albany has 1,248 columns on its Uptown Campus, one of three architecturally distinct campuses that comprise the university.
(15) Belmont University (Nashville, TN)
Belmont is home to the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, which offers four areas of study in Music Business, Audio Engineering Technology, Entertainment Industry Studies, and Songwriting.
(16) Coastal Carolina University (Conway, SC)
In 2014 Costal Carolina University was one of three college campuses in the country selected to receive a mobile Starbucks Coffee truck.
Good luck to all teams participating in this year’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, and especially to our 5-seed Buckeye women’s team and our 10-seed Buckeye men’s team!