You probably wouldn’t have guessed that BU began as a Methodist seminary in Vermont. Originally named the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school was chartered as Boston University in 1869 after three trustees successfully brought the school to Massachusetts. We take pride not only in our long history but also the traditions (and superstitions) that have been created over the last 140 years.
Tagging the BU Rock
The Boston University Greek Rock—more commonly known as the BU Rock—is regularly spray painted by fraternities and sororities competing with each other to make an administration-approved mark on campus. Allegedly, it’s covered in more than 1,000 layers of paint!
The Beanpot Tournament
Every February, the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey teams take on Northeastern, Harvard, and Boston College in a two-week tournament. Assume your place in the Dog Pound and bring your game face!
Avoiding the Seal
Rumor has it if you step on the Marsh Plaza Seal, you won’t graduate in four years. (We advise you not to try it out.)
Since 1985, BU has hosted an annual Lobster Night in every dining hall. Each student gets a full steamed Lobster plus all the fixings. But if shellfish isn’t your thing, BU Dining Services hosts many other themed dinners throughout the year.
When April rolls around, BU students look forward to warmer weather and the Boston Marathon. The annual event always takes place on Patriots Day, a Massachusetts state holiday, so you can use the day off to join the whole city in cheering on the runners—or participate (if you have the stamina).
BU Pumpkin Drop
Each October, the Physics Department launches dozens of pumpkins off the roof of the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering. The yearly event also includes science demonstrations and a costume contest.
Conquering Rhett’s Challenge
Finish a triple bacon cheeseburger, order of fries, eight-scoop ice cream sundae, and a soda in under 30 minutes at Rhett’s in the GSU.
Forming a Broomball Team
BU’s most popular intramural sport, broomball, is one part ice hockey, one part curling, one part golf, and several thousand parts ridiculousness. It’s a favorite among students!
If you want to get involved on campus but don’t know where to start, this is the event for you. Each September, more than 400 student groups are represented at this annual recruitment fair.
Also, did you know?
- BU was the first university to open all divisions to female students (1872) and the first university to award a PhD to a woman, classical scholar Helen Magill White (1877).
- In 1875, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell received a year’s salary advance to pursue his research. The following year, he invented the telephone in a BU lab.
- BU established the nation’s first academic program in public relations in 1947.
- In 1953, Howard Thurman became Dean of Marsh Chapel, the first black dean at a predominantly white university.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received his PhD in Theology from BU in 1955. After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he presented his manuscripts, records and personal papers to the University’s Mugar Memorial Library.
- In 1965, Boston University established the nation’s first combined cancer research and teaching laboratory at its Medical Center.
- In 1985, BU Professor Charles DeLisi initiated what would become the Human Genome Project.