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History & Tradition

History & Traditions

When OU's first president David Ross Boyd stepped off the train in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1892, he was greeted with a barren expanse of prairie, no tree in sight. His only remark at this sight was "What possibilities!" At the University of Oklahoma, we have that same spirit: anything can grow if you have the drive to make it so.

Football stadium with crimson and cream stripes

At OU, only one shade of red will do.

In 1895, OU’s first female faculty member, Mary J. Overstreet, and OU's fourth president, James Buchanan, served on a committee that selected “crimson” and “corn” (yes, corn) as the university’s official colors.

Alas, local merchants found the “corn” color a little tricky for merchandise. We went with the next best thing: crimson and cream.

Learn More About Our Colors

fight song

In 1905, OU history and physiology student Arthur M. Alden wrote the lyrics to the university's "Boomer Sooner," borrowing the tune from Yale's "Boola-Boola" but improvising the words. Later, a bit of the University of North Carolina's "I'm a Tarheel Born" made its way into the song.

And somewhere in the middle, the “Boomer Sooner” battle song was born.


Hear the OU Fight Song

OU Ruf/Nek

A staple of OU football games, you’ll find this spirit squad on the sidelines at Owen Field leading the Sooner Schooner around the field. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of men and women more passionate about OU athletics. The OU RUF/NEKs have been around for more than 100 years, making them America’s oldest male spirit organization.


Read up on the RUF/NEKs