The Alma Mater was written in 1923 by Ora Blackmun, a member of the English Department. Band Director Homer F. Hess composed the music.
From the hills and from the lowlands,
Comes the song of praise anew;
Sung by thousands of our children,
Alma Mater we sing to you.
Then we’ll unfurl our colors the Purple and the Gray,
And in the breezes see them ever proudly sway;
They lead us upward, they lead us onward,
They lead us to victory (Go Bears!).
Then let us gather round with loyal hearts and true,
Our Alma Mater’s call OBEY;
Our dear old colors will live forever,
The Royal PURPLE and the GRAY.
In the 1970s, Band Director Homer Brown chose the "Trio to Purple Pageant March" as the UCA fight song. The previous fight song was the “Eyes of Teachers," following the same tune as "Eyes of Texas," and was adopted during the Arkansas State Teachers College years.
Go, Go, Fight Bears,
You will lead us on to victory!
Hey, Go, Go, Win Team,
Bears will charge the field and never yield,
So, FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
We’ve got the spirit,
And we’ll show our colors here tonight!
So let’s cheer the Purple and the Gray Team,
Mighty BEARS will win the FIGHT!
The State Legislature created the Arkansas State Normal School in 1907. The purpose was to properly train professional teachers. Classes began in 1908 with nine academic departments in one building on 80 acres. The school had 107 students and seven faculty members.
In 1925, Arkansas State Normal School became known as Arkansas State Teachers College, a name that accurately reflected the main program and mission of the institution. Arkansas State Teachers College was known for decades as the premier teacher-training college in Arkansas.
By 1967, though teacher-training was still an important part of the mission, other fields began to expand in liberal arts and health sciences. To recognize this emerging academic diversity, Arkansas State Teachers College became State College of Arkansas.
President Silas Snow, who championed the name change in 1967, organized State College of Arkansas along university lines in preparation for yet another name change. State College of Arkansas grew rapidly in the 1960s and ‘70s and offered an ever-widening range of degree programs. By January of 1975, Snow’s efforts were realized as the State Department of Higher Education recommended State College of Arkansas become the University of Central Arkansas.
Today, the University of Central Arkansas has more than 11,000 students, studying in more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, more than 30 graduate programs, and four doctoral programs.
The colors for UCA were decided during the first year of ASTC in 1908, and according to an article in the November 24, 1908 edition of the Log Cabin Democrat, were said to be purple and silver. According to one story, President Doyne assigned the task of developing school colors to W.O. Wilson and Ida Waldran in 1908. One day Wilson was wearing a gray sweater and Waldran was wearing a purple scarf. Both thought that the purple and gray complemented each other. Today the official colors for all UCA sports teams are purple
It wasn’t until 1920 that the UCA athletic teams had a mascot. According to "A History of The Arkansas State Teachers College," the UCA teams from 1908-1919 were referred to by many names, including: Tutors, Teachers, Pedagogues, Pea-Pickers and Normalites. In 1920, the Bears became the mascot for the teams, however; it wasn’t until 1921 that the teams were called "Bears" in print. Sources were quoted as saying the Bear was an appropriate symbol for the school because Arkansas’ nickname was the "Bear State." The women’s teams were known as the Bearettes for several years. The name Sugar Bear came later.
Main Hall – 1919
The oldest building on campus, Main Hall was completed in 1919 and was built by former Gov. George Donaghey. After the building was constructed, it served a dual role as the administration building and as a classroom building. It continued to serve as the administration building until a new one was built in the 1960s at the corner of Donaghey and Bruce.
Wingo Hall – 1934
Wingo Hall was the most hurriedly built building on the UCA campus. It was built in 1934, in less than five months, and was the first Public Works Administration project in the state to be completed and dedicated. Originally an apartment-style dormitory, Wingo Hall is named after State Sen., and later U.S. Rep., Otis T. Wingo. The building has been remodeled numerous times and now serves as the UCA administration building.
Harding Centennial Plaza – 2005
Harding Centennial Plaza was dedicated in 2005 as the result of a major gift by loyal University of Central Arkansas alumni Rush and Linda Harding. The plaza’s stunning fountain and lush surrounding gardens make it a signature landmark, commemorating UCA’s centennial anniversary and affirming the university’s reputation as one of the most beautiful campuses in the South.
Do It Like a Big Bear! ...
Who Dat Talkin’ About Beatin’ them Bears! ...
Who dat? Who dat?
U – C – A Bears ...
Go Gray ...
During the 1950-51 academic year, Art Professor Gene Hatfield and his craft class created the first statue of the UCA Bear mascot. The bear was made of clay and concrete, and was originally placed by the flag pole in front of the Administration Building (Main Hall). The statue was the focus of rival pranks for many years as students from other colleges would sneak onto campus and paint the bear their school colors. The bear was always repainted its traditional purple or gray. In 2006, members of the Bear Den Executive Board voted to have the statue placed at the north end zone of Estes Stadium establishing a tradition for students to rub the bear statue for good luck before each home football game.
In 1909, a UCA male student was fined $10 for flirting with a student from Central Baptist College.
During World War II, UCA was the home of the Women’s Army Corps Branch No. 3. Approximately 1,800 women were trained at UCA.
In 1987, Scottie Pippen was the first basketball player in UCA history to be drafted by the NBA.
The first commencement ceremony recognized 10 graduates.
In 1923, Ora Blackmun from the English Department wrote the words to the Alma Mater.
In 1962, women were only allowed to wear shorts on campus while at the tennis courts and were required
to cover up with a skirt or coat until they reached the courts.
UCA Honors College was the first honors college in Arkansas.
The Bear Den was formerly known as the Royal Rooters. Members were selected on the basis of their leadership ability, school spirit, and participation in campus activities.
In 1916, a full credit could be gained by participation in two or more sports on campus.
UCA’s first football game was against Hendrix in 1908, but UCA didn’t have a victory over Hendrix until 1928.
In 1939, a varsity club was organized after the 1938 football season. The men were awarded a letter "T" (for Teachers) after excelling in more than four sports at UCA.
McCastlain Hall was originally called the Commons when it served as the campus dining hall.
UCA's World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2003. The memorial contains the names and branch of service of 46 UCA alumni who were killed during World War II.
1907 - John James Doyne sponsored a legislative bill to establish Arkansas State Normal School (ASNS). He then became the institution’s first president.
1908 - Formal opening and dedication of ASNS.
1911 - Alumni Association is officially established.
1917 - Burr Walter Torreyson became the second president of the school.
1922 - The school conferred its first baccalaureate degree.
1925 - The school was renamed Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC).
1929 - Construction began on the school’s first library, named for President Burr Walter Torreyson.
1930 - Heber L. McAlister officially became the third president
1941 - Dr. Nolen M. Irby became the fourth president.
1946 - Enrollment was exceeded 1,000 students for the first time.
1953 - Dr. Silas Snow was the first alumnus to serve as president.
1964 - Ferguson Chapel was dedicated in honor of former physics professor Dr. W.C Ferguson.
1967 - ASTC was renamed State College of Arkansas (SCA).
1975 - The college was granted university status and renamed the University of Central Arkansas.
1975 - Dr. Jefferson D. Farris Jr. became the sixth president.
1977 - Enrollment exceeded 5,000 students for the first time.
1982 - Dr. Norb Schedler established the state’s first Honors College at UCA.
1986 - First distinguished alumnus, Jimmy Driftwood, was announced.
1987 - Scottie Pippen was the first basketball player in UCA history to be drafted by the NBA.
1988 - Dr. Winfred L. Thompson became the university’s seventh president.
1998 - UCA Alumni Association established a permanent home in Buffalo Hall.
2002 - Lu Hardin was named the university’s eighth president.
2004 - Enrollment exceeded 10,000 for the first time.
2005 - UCA was invited to join the Division I Southland Conference in athletics.
2007 - UCA celebrated its centennial anniversary.
2009 - Dr. Allen C. Meadors became the university’s ninth president.
2010 - UCA Athletics unveils new Bear logo.