I've always loved the gold plaques lining the quad, starting with "92" (class of 1892) up until the most recent graduating class. The alumni center displays the next set of plaques to be set into the ground.
The graduates choose what will be put in the time capsule underneath. Apparently, none have been opened. I can't remember went into mine.
Here, the boys stand on SwingDaddy and my year plaques in their natural habitat.
While I was doing a quick google search to see if I could find out what was in my class time capsule (no luck,) I did find the Axe Committee story of the Tree mascot. It should be fairly accurate, given that it's printed with the university seal and all.
How the Tree Came to Be The History of the Stanford Mascot
Stanford adopted Cardinal as the color of the athletic teams in 1892, but we
would not have an official nickname until “Indians” was adopted in 1930. Glenn
Scobey “Pop” Warner, now of youth football fame, became Stanford's football
coach in the 1930s. Warner had previously coached at Carlisle Indian School in
Pennsylvania where Jim Thorpe, the future Olympic athlete, was among his
Native American players. That “Indian” theme followed Warner to Stanford and
the teams here adopted the theme. This would continue until 1972, when President
Richard Lyman dropped it following objections from the Native American community and
a vote of the ASSU Senate. The students’ petition argued that by “retracting its misuse of the
Indian symbol” Stanford would be displaying a “readily progressive concern for the
American Indians of the United States.” Cardinal was then adopted as the temporary
nickname, but a number of suggestions were put forth as a replacement including Sequoias,
Trees, Cardinals, Railroaders, Spikes, and Huns. “Robber Barons,” a reference to Leland
Stanford’s history, was approved by a vote of the student body but rejected by
the administration. Cardinal, the color, would be made the official nickname by
President Donald Kennedy in 1981.
Meanwhile, in 1975, the Stanford Band debuted a series of half time shows
featuring various suggestions they felt were appropriate for the new mascot.
Included were the French Fry, the Steaming Manhole, and the Tree—a
reference to El Palo Alto, the tree on the University Seal. The Tree received so
much positive feedback that it would be made a permanent fixture soon after.
Note that the Tree is not the mascot of the University, but that of the Band.
I wasn't aware that the Cardinal selection dated back to founding days, but I had heard the Robber Barons story!
All the reunion posts. Dance. Back to school. Campus tour classic. Campus tour techie. Class plaques.