V-U Hand Sign – Extend your thumb, index, and middle fingers of the right hand (palm facing out) to form a "V" and "U".
Founder’s Walk – An annual event when incoming freshmen walk through the gates of Vanderbilt to begin their undergraduate careers. Students walk out of the gates to symbolize the completion of their undergraduate years during the graduation procession.
Honor Code Signing – At the beginning of each year, the incoming freshmen gather to sign the Honor Code which is then framed and displayed in the Sarratt Student center as a reminder of the commitment students have made. The honor code has been in existence since 1875, but the signing and framing tradition began with the class of 2002. Outside of graduation festivities, the Honor Code signing is the only time the entire class is gathered together.
Star Walk – Vandy students, fans, and the Spirit of Gold marching band line a sidewalk painted with stars, cheering for the football team as they enter and exit Dudley Field.
Alma Mater and Fight Song – Win or lose, Vanderbilt students and fans stand and sing the alma mater. Dynamite, the Vanderbilt fight song, was written by a Vanderbilt student, Francis Craig in 1924.
Commodore Quake – An annual concert for students in Memorial Gym that kicks off Homecoming weekend. Past headliners have included Ludacris, Chingy and Yin Yang Twins, and the Counting Crows.
Rites of Spring – An annual music festival held on alumni lawn the weekend before finals. Past performances include Spoon, Nelly, My Morning Jacket, Phoenix, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Kid Cubi, and Talib Kwali.
- The administration at Vanderbilt has cancelled classes only twice, once because a bull got loose on campus.
The Vanderbilt administration has cancelled classes multiple times over the past 130 years, although never because of a loose bull.
- There is no bell at the top of Kirkland Hall. Vanderbilt has an expensive stereo system that plays chimes every hour. After the original Kirkland burned down in 1905, Nashville schoolchildren collected pennies to pay for a new bell. That 2,000–pound bell still chimes from the Kirkland Tower on the hour, every hour.
- When Vanderbilt separated from the United Methodist Church, the Methodists founded Emory University.
We will give you half credit for this one. When Vanderbilt split from the United Methodist Church, they did found another university, but it was Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas.
- The Blair School of Music’s most famous alumnus is cellist Yo Yo Ma. Complete lore – Yo Yo Ma graduated from Harvard in 1976 and studied at the Julliard School. We have no clue how he has allegedly been tied to our Blair School of Music.
- There are three squirrels for every one student. While an exact count has never been conducted, let’s just say there are a lot of squirrels across our 330-acre campus.
- The teacher in Dead Poets Society is based on the popular Vanderbilt professor John Lachs. Tom Schulman, who wrote the screenplay for Dead Poets Society, is a Vanderbilt alumnus, but he based his story on experiences at a local private school, Montgomery Bell Academy. There is no evidence that Professor Keating is derived from any specific person at Vanderbilt.
- The Vanderbilt mascot once ran arch rival University of Tennessee’s mascot out of the stadium at a football game. At the 1964 meeting of Vanderbilt and Tennessee, a basset hound named George didn’t like the looks of the walking horse that served as the UT mascot at the time. George ran at the walking horse and it walked right out of the stadium. Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee 7-0 that day and George, the pet of a Vanderbilt student, became a beloved mascot on campus until George’s death in 1966.