Kansas State University Traditions Rock Chalk Chant

C.J. Werner was a little shocked the first time he attended a Kansas University basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse. As he waited for the game to begin, the two guys next to him put their arms around him and began to sing.

Werner, who came to KU in 1995 from Hutchinson, was one of many students to experience one of KU's greatest traditions: the singing of the alma mater followed by the famous KU Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant.

"At first I didn't know what was going on," Werner said. "Then I looked around and saw that everyone was putting their arms around each other and singing, so I tried to follow along. When they started the Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant, I picked it up pretty quickly because it was easy to follow."

The tradition of the Rock Chalk Chant dates to 1866. The chant first began as "rah rah rah Jayhawk" repeated three times. Several years later, an English professor suggested Rock Chalk so that it would rhyme with Jayhawk. It was also suggested because of all the chalk rock- or limestone- found throughout the region.

In 1897 it became the official cheer for Kansas University. The Rock Chalk chant is a tradition that must be heard to be appreciated.

The chant begins low and gradually builds in volume. There are pauses between each word to allow the students a few seconds to yell and scream. By the end of the chant, the gym erupts as students yell as loud as they can.

"I had heard the chant before when I would watch the games on TV," said Grant Gibson, Lyons sophomore. "But when I actually heard the chant in person, I couldn't believe it. It was awesome."

Crimson and Blue
The alma mater came to be in 1891 when George Barlow Penny decided to look for a school song for the Glee and Mandolin Club to sing. Barlow decided to change a few words to Cornell University's "Far Above Cayuga's Water," and "Crimson and the Blue" became the school song.

Rock Chalk Chant
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