UMaine Traditions

Alumni Association | Convocation | Maine Hello | UMaine’s Mascot | Maine Day
Maine Campus | School Songs | UMaine Crest | School Colors | Homecoming
Greek Life | All Maine Women | Senior Skulls | Sophomore Owls
Sophomore Eagles | Bear’s Den


The UMaine Alumni Association

In 1865 the Maine State Legislature passed the bill calling for the establishment of a state land-grant college. In September of 1868, four students attended the first classes ofwhat was then called Maine State College. From those original four students, Maine State College grew into what we now know as The University of Maine, the flagship campus of the seven-member University of Maine System.

The University of Maine Alumni Association was chartered in 1875 as an independent organization dedicated to serving the University and its graduates. Today, with its offices located in the beautiful Buchanan Alumni House, (opened in 2002) the Association’s mission remains the same as it did at the beginning – providing programs and services to alumni (now totaling nearly 95,000!) as well as UMaine’s student population.

Alumni contributions have provided essential funding for key campus facilities including: the Memorial Union; Hauck Auditorium; Fogler Library; Mahaney Diamond, Clubhouse and Dome; Collins Center for the Arts; Buchanan Alumni House; Class of ’44 Hall; the Class of ’44 Bear’s Den; as well as Boardman, Jenness and Murray Halls.

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It is a custom at the University of Maine to ask on outstanding alumna/alumnus to come back to campus to deliver an important message to all new students. This event, marking the beginning of your college life, is held at the beginning of the academic year and focuses on the richness of academic life. Attendance by all new students is expected.

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The Maine Hello

The “Maine Hello” originated as part of freshman orientation in the days of President Arthur Hauck. From the first day of school through Family & Friends Weekend, first year students were identified by the beanies they wore. Whenever a first year student passed by a member of the Senior Skulls, All Maine Women, or a member of the University administration, they were expected to give them a warm and friendly, “Hello!” As a good natured “punishment” for failing to offer this greeting, a first year student would be required to carry the upperclassman’s books to class – a practice which would often make them late to their own classes! This tradition was developed as a way to encourage friendliness on campus. While today’s students are no longer compelled to offer the “Maine Hello”, the warmth and friendliness of this tradition continues to this day. In fact it is not at all uncommon to hear alumni and others offer one another a “Hearty Maine Hello” whenever they are gathered for events, tailgates or other campus activities.

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The Legend of Bananas the Bear – UMaine’s Mascot

The first University of Maine mascot was not a black bear… from 1903-1914 the mascot was an elephant – “borrowed” from a Bangor clothing store and brought to campus. In 1914 an Old Town animal collector loaned the MAINE football team a black bear cub found in the Maine woods, in hopes that he would bring the team good luck. Legend has it the cub’s antics made the crowd “go bananas” – and the name Bananas has stuck to this very day. Several live bears have filled the role of Bananas – including the last live bear, “Cindy Bananas” in 1966. Since then the brothers of Alpha Delta (formerly known as Alpha Phi Omega) have continued the tradition of Black Bear spirit on the University of Maine campus by creating the Bananas that we know and love. A full history of Bananas the Bear can be found at the Alumni Center… come read all about it!

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Maine Day

In 1935 President Arthur Hauck inaugurated MAINE Day, and day set aside for “spring cleanup” of campus. Many classes are suspended for the day and all of the campus community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – pitch in to spruce up campus. The day kicks off with a wake-up parade led by the President, followed by work projects throughout the morning. A giant barbecue is then held in the Steam Plant parking lot at lunchtime for all volunteers. In the afternoon student teams compete in oozeball. (Volleyball in the mud!) Proceeds from the oozeball tournament are donated to a charitable organization.

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The Maine Campus

The Maine Campus is the University’s student newspaper, and has been since the first edition rolled off the presses in 1899. In the past it was published weekly, then daily, and in recent years has been published 3 times per week. It is entirely student run and contains everything from classified ads to editorials to news features. The Maine Campus also includes a weekly events calendar, so grab a copy and stay up-to-date on everything that’s happening at UMaine!

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The Stein Song and Maine Fight Song

The Maine Stein Song is intended as a celebration of the collegiate experience – a toasting of MAINE as an institution of higher learning, and the growth that takes place within that experience. It’s not so much a drinking songs but rather a toast in honor of the University of Maine. It was Written in 1910 by Lincoln Colcord and made popular by Rudy Vallee, class of 1925. It became a number one hit of the day and has been sung throughout the world. The Stein Song is played at a variety of events on campus, including sporting contests – especially when the Black Bears score! All loyal UMaine students and alumni stand and sing along whenever the Stein Song is played. To listen to the Stein Song click here

The “Maine Fight Song” – or “For Maine”, as it is also known – was written by Charles Bartlett, class of 1914. Although it is traditionally sung at football games, you will often hear it at other sporting events as well. “For Maine” is also known as the “Marching to Victory” song.

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The UMaine Crest

The University Crest embodies the history of the University of Maine and its position as the flagship campus of the University of Maine System. Founded in 1865, UMaine’s traditional values are represented by the crest’s shape. The three flags inside the crest represent the institution’s flagship status and symbolize its mission of teaching, research and public service. Maine’s natural resources, and the University’s position as a land-grant university and sea-grant college, are depicted in the colors of pale blue and navy blue that stand for the sea and sky.

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School Colors

From the very beginning our colors have been blue and white. Wear them often and with pride!

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Homecoming and Homecoming Royalty

Homecoming Weekend is a traditional campus-wide “welcome home” for all University of Maine graduates. Students serve as campus ambassadors to meet and greet alumni. Fraternities, sororities, colleges, departments, student groups and many classes hold special Reunions.

Highlights of the weekend include the traditional football game, tailgating, a giant craft fair in the Fieldhouse, and the election and coronation of Homecoming Royalty. To be inclusive of all of our students, rather than one king and one queen, two members of Homecoming Royalty will be chosen by the student body for exemplifying outstanding campus leadership and school spirit and are crowned before a crowd of thousands in Alfond Stadium.

Homecoming Weekend is a weekend for EVERYONE – students and alumni. So mark your calendars, put on your best UMaine gear and show your Black Bear spirit!

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Greek Life

Greek Life has existed at the University of Maine since 1874 with the formation of the QTV Society. The presence of Greeks still exists strongly today with about 730 students participating in one of the 15 men’s fraternities or 6 women’s sororities. Approximately 14% of University of Maine undergraduates are members of Greek letter organizations.

Greeks on campus have been very well known throughout their history at the University for providing many things such as community service and scholastic achievement, to name a few. This tradition still stands today with all the organizations putting in thousands upon thousands of hours each year around UMaine and the surrounding communities. In addition, many Greeks have GPA’s averaging higher than those of the general campus.

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All Maine Women Honor Society

University of Maine President Clarence Little and Carolyn Colvin, Dean of Women, founded the All Maine Women Honor Society in 1925. Members of the society are distinguished leaders, scholars, and outstanding role models, are active in community service, display MAINE spirit, and have the potential for continued service to UMaine. All Maine Women is the highest all-inclusive honor society to which a University of Maine woman or gender non-binary student can belong and AMW are pledged to uphold and promote the ideals, standards and traditions of the University. Members can be distinguished by their special pins, sweaters and small pine trees worn on their right cheeks one day each week. Members are considered the consummate role models for UMaine students.

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Senior Skull Honor Society

The Senior Skull Society was founded on December 14, 1906. The Skulls have been an integral part of the University ever since, although the purposes and duties of the Skulls have changed to fit the times. The Senior Skulls continued uninterrupted until the end of World War II, when it ceased to exist for 3 years. It was revived in the fall of 1947 and to this day, remains the highest all-inclusive honor society at the University of Maine. The Senior Skulls continue to serve our University in many aspects, ranging from freshmen orientation, various Homecoming activities – including the selection of Homecoming Royalty – and various other duties as assigned by the Office of the President and the Alumni Association. Membership in the society is considered the highest honor for any man at UMaine.

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Sophomore Owls Society

The Sophomore Owls Society is an honors organization dedicated to community service at UMaine and in surrounding communities. The Senior Skulls started the Sophomore Owls in 1911. Our vision is to be a positive force of impactful influence on the University of Maine campus and community. We strive to promote excellence, integrity, leadership, passion and inspirational motivation to all those around us, particularly the first-year students as they transition to University life. We represent the top 1% of our class; not just in academic prowess, but in the whole person concept. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination within the University and surrounding communities. We intend to promote the rich history and traditions of the University of Maine while painting our indelible trail towards forward progression.

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Sophomore Eagles Honor Society

The first eleven Sophomore Eagles were chosen in December 1926 on the basis of character, scholarship, leadership, friendliness, and participation in college activities. The “Sophomore Eagles” name was created to be a counterpart to the Owls and chose a blue star as their symbol. Just as with the Skulls, AMW and Owls, the Eagle’s role has changed with the times and today partners with these groups on a variety of activities.

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Class of 1944 Bear’s Den

The heart of student life at UMaine has, for more than 50 years, been the Memorial Union. Dedicated June 13, 1953, the Memorial Union is a tribute to the University of Maine men and women who served in World War II and a memorial to the 181 men who gave their lives in the war. From the start, one of the most popular spots has been the Bear’s Den, a spot where students could meet to discuss the topics of the day. Ask any alumni from 1954 on and they will undoubtedly tell you some of their most fond memories are of time spent in the Bear’s Den! In 2004 – in honor of their 60th Reunion – the Class of 1944 raised over $200,000 to renovate the Bear’s Den into that of a classic English Pub, ensuring its place as a favorite gathering spot for UMaine students for many generations to come.

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