HSU Traditions

HSU may be a relatively small school, but like larger Texas universities, we have big traditions that make us unique. They start with a Stampede and a beanie and end with a cap and gown.

You’re going to love STAMPEDE! This week-long introduction to HSU is full of fun and learning, from getting your iconic purple and gold beanie to participating in meals and games with your new classmates.

This orientation program will help you transition into college life and into our welcoming campus community. You’ll meet upper-class students, faculty and staff members; learn about our traditions and history; and dive into the nuts and bolts of living and learning at HSU.

The world-famous Cowboy Band played its first note in 1923. Since then, this group of musicians has been an important part of HSU and regional celebrations.

Each year, this Western-clad ensemble participates in parades, games, rodeos, and other performances on and off campus. The Band has traveled to more than a dozen countries and marched in the inaugural parades of six U.S. presidents: Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush.

This esteemed parade unit got its start in the late 1920s when Will “Sheriff” Watson, a loyal HSU supporter, rode his white horse, Silver, at the head of our Cowboy Band during a parade. He was even dressed in Western gear to mirror the image of our famed music group. The tradition stuck, and Six White Horses was born; each rider carries a flag that has been flown over the state of Texas.

Six White Horses participates in parades, rodeos, school visits, and other civic and community events. Each year, student-riders try out to be part of this elite, Western-style team.

Dr. W.O. “Doc” Beazley directed the unit from 1962 to 1998, and during that time, he also author several books aimed at teaching children about horses, which used actual Six White Horses in the stories.

Gilbert the Goose is the unofficial mascot of Hardin-Simmons University.Gilbert is a white goose that arrived on campus in spring 2013. He’s named after Gilbert Sandefer, son of former HSU President, Jefferson Davis Sandefer. As the unofficial mascot of HSU and adopted family member, he gets lots of attention from students, and we even celebrate his birthday annually.

Historic photo of Fritz, a white bulldog or terrier, that became known as Dam-it, the mascot of HSU from 1916 to 1920.In 1916 Simmons College was graced with the introduction of Fritz, a white bulldog or large terrier (his heritage is unknown) that was owned by President Sandefer’s youngest son, Gib.  Although his given name was Fritz, he soon earned another, more widely known moniker.  There are speculative reasons for how he got the name Dam-it, from causing a cafeteria staff member to trip while carrying a tray full of food to students, or that it referenced his thoughts at losing his tail, either way the name stuck.  Dam-it quickly became the class of 1920’s mascot as he grew up with the class, and integrated into the culture of the university.

He was taught the ever-popular game of fetch with both rocks and sticks, and would carry the rocks around in his mouth wherever he went.  Dam-it was allowed to roam all over campus, including classrooms, and laughter would ensue when he would fall asleep in class, the rock would tumble out of his mouth, startle him awake, and cause a commotion until he had secured the rock once more in his jaws.

The story of Dam-it is however, a tragedy, as he contracted pneumonia in January of 1920 and died only a few hours later.  How much of an impact he had on the university was on display at his funeral, which included a procession led by the Cowboy Band, four seniors as pallbearers, and grave dug by freshmen.  Senior class chaplain Ira Harrison led the service speaking from the text “Every Dog has his Day.”  Almost the entire student body and faculty were present for the funeral in the center of campus.

The fire hydrant memorial recognizing HSU's former mascot, Dam-It the dog.The story was picked up by the Associated Press, and received national attention, with condolences coming from every part of the country.  A marble tombstone was raised over his grave with the few words: Dam-it, He is Dead.  Around 1950, a metal plate was put in place of the chipped stone, and at a later time the memorial was moved beside the Reflection Pond, and a purple and gold fire hydrant was established in his memory.

After the death of Dam-it, the class of 1920 donated another canine mascot, this time a young dalmatian, but Dam-it was irreplaceable.  Although Dam-it has been gone from the campus of Hardin-Simmons University for over 90 years, his legacy lives on in the monument beside the pond, and in the fire hydrant featured on every school ring.

Christmas season is a special time of year at HSU. Each year, we gather on Anderson Lawn to celebrate the lighting of the tree with a storybook, cookies, crafts, carols and cocoa. The festivities also include a dinner and a concert.

HSU’s Class of 1919 made possible the Petrified Tree Stump which is situated across from Abilene Hall. It was taken from the sand beds in the vicinity of Clyde and was brought to the campus by the late D.Q. Riddle, editor of the Bronco and a member of the 1919 class.

HSU Anthem
Hardin-Simmons, hail to thee,
for famous are thy halls;
Long may thy worth increase,
long live thy noble cause.
Great are thy victories
o’er land and over sea;
Fair daughter of the West
we love and honor thee.

HSU Fight Song (“Parade of the Purple and Gold”)
We’ll fight for dear old H-S-U.
Win or lose, we are all for you.
We’ll sing of all your praises true
And the might of the Cowboy school.

Our hearts will always loyal be
To the school and the team we love.
We’re going to fight, fight, fight,
We’re going to fight, fight, fight,
For the glory of the Purple and Gold.

  • Colors: Purple & Gold
  • Fight Song: “Parade of the Purple and Gold”
  • Mascot: Cowboy
  • School Paper: The HSU Brand
  • Yearbook: Bronco
  • Literary Magazine: Corral
  • Alumni Magazine: Range Rider