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#40230 - 08/30/01 11:53 AM Aggies
Sparteye Offline

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773

I wish to indulge my interest in the juxtaposition of two of my favorite subjects: words and sports. I am fascinated by the stories behind the nicknames adopted by sports teams, and the traditions which they represent. Having had abysmal luck interesting anybody on a sports board with the subject, I shall proceed here.

Beginning, uncreatively enough, with the A's, the first subject is AGGIES. Not surprisingly, the nickname arises from a university's function as an agricultural college.

"Aggies" is the nickname for at least 5 college sports teams in the US:

California - Davis (NCCA II)
New Mexico State (Sun Belt - West)
North Carolina A & T (Mid-Eastern Athletic)
Texas A & M (Big Twelve)
Utah State (Big West)

Michigan State teams were referred to as the Aggies during the early 1900s, when MSU was still the Michigan Agricultural College.

Today I detail California - Davis:

Founded as the "University Farm" amid the fertile fields of the state's Central Valley, UC Davis has emerged an acknowledged international leader in agricultural, biological, biotechnological and environmental sciences and is gaining similar recognition for excellence in the arts, humanities, social sciences, engineering, health sciences, law and management.
The campus owes much of its strength to its deep traditional roots in agriculture, the impressive diversity of academic programs that emerged from this foundation, a distinguished faculty of scholars and scientists, a treasured sense of community and a dedication to the landgrant values of creative, responsive and innovative teaching, research and public service.


In 1905, the California Legislature approved the establishment of a state agriculture school. Three years later, in 1908, the University Farm School opened at Davis, where students from the first UC campus in Berkeley learned the latest in agricultural methods and technology. Today, UC Davis offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs, along with professional schools of law, management, medicine and veterinary medicine. Our agricultural roots are still honored, however, in our nickname—the “Aggies.”

UC Davis is the largest of the nine University of California campuses, with 5,200 acres, second in total expenditures and third in enrollment. UC Davis stands 24th in research funding among universities in the United States, according to the most recent information from the National Science Foundation. U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked UC Davis among the top public universities nationally, placing it 12th in 1999. And UC Davis is one of only 62 universities admitted to the prestigious Association of American Universities.

The Davis campus has undergraduate colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. Undergraduate enrollment is more than 19,400 students. Graduate Studies administers graduate study and research in all schools and colleges. Professional studies are carried out in the schools of Law, Management, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; more than 5,600 students are engaged in graduate or professional study.


Historical Milestones
1905 Legislation approved for establishment of a state agriculture school
1906 Purchase of 778-acre site once known as the Jerome C. Davis farm
1908-09 University Farm School opens with first students
1922 College of Agriculture established
1948 School of Veterinary Medicine welcomes first students
1951 College of Letters and Science founded
1959 UC Davis designated a comprehensive campus
1962 College of Engineering given full college status
1966 School of Law holds first classes
1967 College of Agriculture renamed College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
1968 School of Medicine admits first students
1970 Division of Biological Sciences established
1981 Graduate School of Management opens its doors


After years in barley and alfalfa, the campus Quad became a lawn in 1932. Now the oak tree-lined heart of the campus, the Quad offers a welcome spot for concerts, speeches, festivals, fairs, Frisbees and picnics.

The first editions of the student newspaper California Aggie rolled off the presses in 1915. The paper now publishes 13,000 copies daily.


The school colors appear to be blue and gold, and the school also uses a mustang as a symbol. Apparently, there has been some debate regarding replacing the mustang with something more obviously connected to an agricultural theme -- a scarecrow was proposed -- but the mustang still prevails.

#40231 - 08/30/01 02:02 PM Re: Aggies
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Having had abysmal luck interesting anybody on a sports board with the subject

Hey, Sporteye, that's a shock

so, just let me check - you are going through the entire alphabet like this....?

c'mon guys, can't we club together for some sort of humane treatment, it must be possible surely?

#40232 - 08/30/01 02:06 PM Re: Aggies
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
I was gonna say, why would a team want to name itself after marbles?

#40233 - 08/30/01 02:37 PM Re: Aggies
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear Faldage: when I was in grammar school, there was a very wide social difference between an "aggie" and a "marble". Only the lowest of the plebians bothered with marbles,which, despite the name were to us half inch clay spheres, often unglazed. The aggies were multicolored glass spheres with brilliant internal swirls of color.
You really had class if you were willing to risk "popping" with "aggies". And a loaf of bread sized bag of "aggies" was proof of social superiority.

#40234 - 08/30/01 02:57 PM Re: Aggies
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
this from correspondence with one of my faithful readers:

> Mike.... Not sure you know what an "Aggie" is.... but a favorite Aggie
> joke goes....
> An Aggie, after his usual opening line.... ("Baby I love nobody but
> you!) assumed his usual license to "explore" his girlfriend's anatomy.
> She quickly said, "Oh no you don't.... now cut that out!"
> Next day, he asked his Aggie friends,...... "You guys ever seen one of
> these up close?"

in my (admittedly provincial) view of things, an aggie is a type
of playing marble...wait...hmmm...I also recall it being applied to
students at NDSU, which before its elevation to a State University
was just a lowly agricultural college. neither of these would
seem to add substantively to your story, except that Aggies were
generally looked upon as stump-jumpers.

>Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College was established as part of the
>state system of higher education..... student body was, indeed,
>originally composed of higher-stump-jumpers, but a bellicose and
>defensive sub-culture evolved (the.... CORPS) so the local
>Polock...Blonde...Dweeb joke-target has become the Aggies.....

#40235 - 08/30/01 03:28 PM Re: Aggies
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Dr bill, to me an aggie is also a marble-- but not a glass cats eye-- pretty as they are, or any other glass marble. an Aggie is a stone shooter--made out of agate.. (shooter are larger than regular marbles. )

without trying, i have managed to collect 50 or glass marbles.and some aggies, including a beautiful golden orange aggie. i haven't played marbles in years. i keep my marbles (all of them!) in glass box on a display shelf.

my other obsession

#40236 - 08/30/01 03:30 PM Re: Aggies
Flatlander Offline

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
I'll jump ahead in the alphabet and mention the nickname of my alma mater: the Tufts University Jumbos. So named because of one of the school's early benefactors: the one and only P.T. Barnum himself (there is also a Barnum Hall on campus). The stuffed carcass of the majestic pachyderm himself (herself?) graced the Quad until a fire nearly destroyed him. The tip of the trunk and tail remain in an old peanut butter jar in the Athletic Director's office, and a concrete elephant now stands watch over the studentry.

According to past issues of The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, Tufts
University has one of the most unique college nicknames in the country. In a 1992
poll taken by the National Directory of College Athletics, "Jumbos" placed 18th,
wedged between the Gorillas of Pittsburgh State and the Nanooks of
Alaska-Anchorage, but far behind the first-place Banana Slugs of California-Santa


In 1949, Jumbos place at Tufts was threatened by the University of Bridgeport,
who also wanted to claim the enormous pachyderm for its own mascot because
Bridgeport had been home to Barnum and his circus. This challenge was based on
the grounds that Barnum owned only half of Jumbo (with Bailey owning the other
half), and he could only bequeath his half of the elephant to Tufts.

President Leonard Carmichael answered Bridgeport's request by gracefully stating
that since Tufts had been good stewards of Jumbo, the college had the right to
choose which half of the elephant it wanted and naturally decided upon the front.
Bridgeport declined to take Jumbo's rump, but as a gesture of goodwill Tufts gave
the albino elephant that stood beside Jumbo to the Connecticut school.

And though Sparteye's team has won a national title, note that
The Tufts football team was one of the sport's first. Some historians point to a
game between Harvard and Tufts at Jarvis Field in Cambridge on June 4, 1875 as
the first game of American football between two American colleges.

#40237 - 08/30/01 03:32 PM Re: Aggies
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Next day, he asked his Aggie friends,...... "You guys ever seen one of
> these up close?"

Dear tsuwm: and now I don't dare even comment on this. (rhetorical device)

#40238 - 08/30/01 03:34 PM Re: Aggies et al
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
For misleading it would be hard to beat the UConn Huskies.

#40239 - 08/30/01 03:42 PM Re: Aggies
jimthedog Offline

Registered: 02/24/01
Posts: 387
Loc: Hartsville, New York.
Jumbo was a male, if I remember correctly. He was insane, so that's why Barnum got him from the English, (they didn't want their kids on him) but he calmed down while in the States.

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