History of UNT
Founded in 1890 by Joshua C. Chilton, UNT started as the Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute on the second floor of a hardware store on the town square in Denton. The university grew over the years and changed its name six times along the way, with each change reflecting the growth in size, complexity and educational breadth. The Texas Legislature approved the final change from North Texas State University to the University of North Texas in 1988.
Alumni Appreciation Day
For more than 30 years, the university and many academic departments have set aside a day to recognize successful and dedicated alumni, inviting them back to campus for special events.
Boomer the cannon
Firing the cannon became a tradition in 1970. During football games, it can be heard following Mean Green touchdowns. The cannon, a scale replica of a model used in the U.S.-Mexican War, is also used at special campus events.
After a heated campus debate in 1902, the students chose green and white as the official school colors. According to a 1932 article in the Campus Chat student newspaper, green proponents believed that Mother Nature is kind to those who wear her colors.
In a 1922 campus election, students chose the eagle over the lion and the dragon as the mascot.
The Green Machine
The 1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan is driven at home football games, parades and other special occasions by the Talons spirit group. The vehicle was donated to UNT by an alumnus in 1974.
The tradition to ward off evil football spirits by lighting a large bonfire the night before the big game began in 1935.
The annual freshman parade became part of Homecoming in 1927, although Homecoming itself wasn’t associated with football until the mid-1930s. Upperclassmen later joined the tradition. The route has varied through the years but usually loops from campus to downtown Denton and back.
The first Honors Day, as it is currently practiced, began in 1951. Outstanding students, faculty and staff are recognized in an afternoon ceremony that often includes an outstanding alum as a guest speaker.
Lighting the clock tower green
After a UNT athletic team victory, special floodlights bathe the Hurley Administration Building’s McConnell Tower in a green light to signal the win to the campus and the community.
“Mean Green” moniker
The nickname dates from the late 1960s, when spontaneous chants from the stands for the football team’s defense inspired the athletic department to refer to the “Mean Green Defensive Unit” in a press release.
Mean Green Village
In the village — a growing tradition along with tailgating — various groups set up tents near Fouts Field before home football games. The pregame festivities include food, live music and an activities area for children.
Julia Smith, who played saxophone in the college band, composed the alma mater, which was adopted in 1922. Her tune written in 1919, “Glory to the Green and White,” features lyrics by Charles Langford. Alumnus Francis Stroup wrote the fight song, “Fight, North Texas,” in 1939 after the university held a fight song contest. He helped revise the lyrics after the name of the school changed to the University of North Texas.
University Day celebration
First held in 1961, when North Texas State College became North Texas State University, this anniversary party each spring includes games, music and food.