A-Z Index

Northwest Traditions

The Alma Mater

Let your voices loudly ringing, echo far and near,
Songs of praise thy children singing to thy mem'ry dear.

Alma Mater! Alma Mater! tender, fair and true;
Grateful sons with love unfailing all their vows renew.

Years may dim our recollection, time its change may bring,
Still thy name in fond affection, evermore we'll sing.

Alma Mater! Alma Mater! tender, fair, and true;
Grateful sons with love unfailing all their vows renew

The Bearcats

While Northwest was known as the Fifth District Normal School from its founding in 1905 until 1919, the name of the school's athletics teams was bestowed upon the basketball team in 1916 by a Drury College coach who recognized the "Normals" as formidable opponents. Today, all intercollegiate teams and athletes at Northwest are known as Bearcats.

Walkout Day

Historically, students went to class on the morning before Homecoming and awaited the ringing of the Bell of '48, which marked the end of all academic activity and the beginning of a day filled with picnics and parties. The tradition continues, except that classes are simply canceled.


Homecoming week is a long-standing tradition at Northwest. Activities include philanthropy competitions, the International Flag-Raising Ceremony, Variety Show, alumni reunions, the M-Club Hall of Fame banquet, the coronation of a king and queen, a parade and football game.

The Bell of '48

The Bell of '48, a gift of that year's graduating class, is rung to announce athletic victories, in memory of any member of the University community who has died, and to announce other events deemed important by the Student Senate and the administration.

The Kissing Bridge

The small, rustic wooden bridge near Colden Hall and Colden Pond is a traditional spot for student romance to blossom.

The Hickory Stick

The tradition of the Hickory Stick dates back to 1930, when Northwest President Uel Lamkin presented a painted cane to Eugene Fair, who was president of what is now Truman State University. Each year when the Bearcats and Bulldogs play one another, the winner gets to keep the stick and paint it in the school colors. The Hickory Stick is believed to be the oldest traveling trophy in NCAA Division II competition, although the annual game has not been played since Truman State left the MIAA conference after the 2011 football season.

The Stroller

The Stroller is one of the oldest traditions on campus, having made its first appearance in The Green and White Courier on Jan. 9, 1918. To this day the anonymous Stroller observes college life in a weekly column published by The Northwest Missourian student newspaper.