University of Toledo History
The University of Toledo was founded by Jesup Wakeman Scott on October 12, 1872 as a private arts and trades school, known as Toledo University of Arts and Trades, offering painting and architectural drawing as its only subjects. Scott, the editor for the Toledo Blade newspaper from 1844 to 1847, was a public-spirited Toledoan who felt the city should have a university to train young people for responsible positions in the growing community. Scott's dream led him to endow 160 acres of land which later became the Scott Park Campus. Scott died in 1874 and the school was forced to close in 1878 due to a lack of funds. On January 8, 1884, the assets of the university were turned over to the city of Toledo and the school reopened that year as the Manual Training School, later changing its name to Toledo University. In 1922, the university moved into an automobile mechanics training facility on Scott's land that had been constructed during World War I. After the Toledo voters passed a bond levy in 1928, the main campus was moved north to the land located on Bancroft Street, with University Hall being the first building constructed in 1931.
On July 1, 1967, the University was given the status of a state-funded university by the Ohio General Assembly and became known as the University of Toledo. On July 1, 2006 the University merged with the Medical University of Ohio, making UT one of only four institutions in the state with a medical school and a law school.
Bell Tower and University Hall
President Henry J. Doermann, the father of the Bell Tower and the university's structural design, wanted all of the buildings on Bancroft Campus to be of a Collegiate Gothic architectural design to reflect the best design elements of the universities of Europe. President Doermann felt such architecture would provide an atmosphere to inspire students. He also dreamed of a central tower that could be spotted from anywhere on campus. President Doermann went against the objections of many Toledoans who felt the design was too extravagant and a waste of money. He knew how much this Tower would mean to the UT community; therefore, he set out and accomplished his lofty goal of building the beautiful high structure that resides at the north center part of Bancroft Campus. Residing on the top four corners of this architectural gem are four gargoyles which overlook and guard the University of Toledo.
The 156-step, 206-foot Bell Tower sits atop of University Hall. Completed in 1931, University Hall was the first building built on the Bancroft Campus. It took 400 men nearly one full year to complete University Hall and the second building built on campus, the Field House. The Collegiate Gothic structural design for University Hall set the standard for all other buildings to be constructed on the University of Toledo's Bancroft Campus.
When the University of Toledo played then-powerful Carnegie Tech in football in 1923, Pittsburgh sports writers were surprised to learn that UT did not have a nickname. Pittsburgh writers pressed James Neal, a UT student working in the press box, to come up with a nickname.
Despite UT's 32-12 loss, the student labeled the team "Skyrockets," obviously impressed by his alma mater's flashy performance against a superior team. The sportswriters shortened the name to "Rockets," which has been used since.
Many other suggestions for UT's nickname have been considered through the years, including a Spanish theme of Toreadors or Bulls, in honor of Toledo's sister relationship with the city's namesake in Spain. Others included Commodores, Turtles, Bancroft Highwaymen and Jeeps.
Toledo teams were referred to as the Blue and Gold, Munies (for municipal university) and Dwyer's Boys (after head football coach James Dwyer) in sports stories prior to 1923.
Midnight Blue and Gold were selected as the school's official colors by the Varsity 'T' Club, at its organizational meeting on December 1, 1919. Ten of the 14 football lettermen met to form the club, and also chose Ed Stader as their first president.
The Fight Song
"U of Toledo" was written in 1932 by Dave Connelly, UT athletic director and baseball coach through much of the 1930s and 1940s. Connelly loved to sing, but had never studied music. He wrote the words for "U of Toledo" and sang the melody to a family friend, Bernie Jones. Jones played it on the piano and put it to music.
The tune remained largely unchanged until 1975, when UT associate professor of music David Jex arranged the current version. At that time, the song's one verse was dropped from the official version of the fight song.
Fight Song - "U of Toledo"
U of Toledo, we'll fight for you
(Fight! Fight! Fight!)
U of Toledo, we love the Gold and Blue
(Let's go Blue!)
Men of the Varsity, the enemy must yield,
We'll fight just like our ancestors
and march right down the field!
Verse (no longer used)
The Indians roamed the Maumee River land
Till along came Anthony Wayne.
Old England was the ruler of the Lakes,
Till Perry gained his fame.
They were fighters and victorious
And they drove back every foe.
Gave their legends and traditions
To the school we honor so.
The Alma Mater
"Fair Toledo" was selected from eight entries which were submitted in the UT Alma Mater Song Contest, sponsored jointly by the Student Senate and the Alumni Association in 1959. The competition was held to replace "Golden and Blue," set to "Amici," a tune used by various universities.
While driving to work, Gilbert Mohr heard Jim Uebelhart announce the contest on the radio in January of that year. An amateur songwriter, Mohr began humming different tunes, and later with his wife, Jean Strout, wrote the lyrics. Their alma mater entry won the contest and the couple received a $100 government bond. "Fair Toledo" debuted at halftime of the Marshall-Toledo basketball game on March 2, 1959.
Alma Mater - "Fair Toledo"
In tower shadows voices now raising,
To alma mater Golden and Blue,
Fair Toledo praise to thee,
Portal of learning ever be,
Hallowed halls we shall revere,
Vow to keep thy memory dear.
Rocky the Rocket
Rocky the Rocket, the University of Toledo's mascot, began in the 1966-67 academic year by the Spirits and Traditions committee, an appendage of Student Government, with various students being chosen to dress up for a couple different games. Then in the fall of 1968, Rocky was taken under the wing of Dan Seemann, Director of Student Activities at the time, and the first official Rocky the Rocket, Bill Navarre, emerged. Navarre displayed his super spirit at UT both home and away football and basketball.