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Illinois Wesleyan Traditions

The IWU 2018 Logo

Illinois Wesleyan University celebrates a rich tapestry of traditions that date back to its founding in 1850, fostering a strong sense of community and continuity among students, alumni, and faculty. These enduring customs not only celebrate IWU's storied history but also cultivate a vibrant campus culture that unites generations. Here are just some of our active traditions:

Tommy Titan with students during All In for Wesleyan events

Mascot: Tommy the Titan

"The Wesleyan Titan" made his inaugural appearance, entering Wilder Field in a Roman chariot, at pre-game ceremonies for a football game against Illinois State University on Sept. 25, 1965. He was portrayed by Steve Reeser, class of 1969.

Softball team - 2024 CCIW champions

School Colors: Green and White

An 1898 Daily Pantagraph report is credited as the first mention of green and white as Illinois Wesleyan’s colors.

Students chalking their college goals around Aspiration Fountain

Chalking around Aspiration Fountain

During Turning Titan orientation, first-year students chalk their college goals around Aspiration Fountain. Bookending this, in the lead up to Commencement, faculty and staff will chalk graduates' names around the fountain–in honor of all you’ve achieved! Watch this video to learn more about this fun tradition!

Student with a plate filled with breakfast foods during Late Night Breakfast

Late Night Breakfast

Each fall semester during Finals Week, IWU students come together for a late night breakfast party – complete with pancakes, sausage, eggs, and tots, served by our President and other administrators. This annual tradition helps students shake off the nerves and realize they aren’t in this alone!

Student on rock climbing wall during Titan Carnival

Titan Carnival

On the final evening of fall orientation, the entire IWU community comes together for a giant carnival that marks the official closing of “Turning Titan.” Picture a giant outdoor party with rides, a climbing wall, jumbo inflatables and food! This epic tradition has gained even more steam in the last couple of years and is a fun way to kick-off the start of the fall semester!

Students talking during RSO Fair

RSO Fair

Getting involved in a registered student organization is a great way to meet new people, gain leadership experience and get connected to the IWU campus. Every fall, all student organizations gather for the RSO Fair to introduce students to all the ways they can get involved at IWU!

Tyler Manning holding up sticker and sandwich during PB&J Night

PB&J Night

Another fun Finals Week tradition is PB&J Night, where students can take a late night study break to enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other snacks. 

Unity Gala

Unity Gala

The Unity Gala is a formal event that celebrates Illinois Wesleyan’s diverse campus community and brings together hundreds of students, faculty and staff to walk the red carpet and enjoy a night of dancing and celebration!

Graduate touching pineapple during commencement

Commencement Pineapple

Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality and warm welcomes. As seniors cross the stage during Commencement, graduates pat a stone pineapple symbolizing their transition from student to alumnus and their being welcomed into the Titan alumni community.

IWU seal on McPherson Theatre

Motto: Scientia et Sapientia

The Latin phrase on the Illinois Wesleyan seal means Knowledge and Wisdom. The seal was created by explorer-geologist John Wesley Powell, who joined the IWU faculty in 1865.





Illinois Wesleyan seal was created by explorer-geologist John Wesley Powell, who joined the IWU faculty in 1865.


Alma Wesleyana

From hearts aflame our love we pledge to thee,
Where'er we wander over land or sea;
Through time unending loyal we will be –
True to our Alma Mater Wesleyan.

When college days are fully past and gone,
While life endures from twilight dream till dawn,
Grandly thy soul shall with us linger on –
Star-crowned our Alma Mater Wesleyan!

– Professor W.E. Schultz (1887-1964)


Illinois Wesleyan Song Book

(Songs in mp3 format)

Recording Engineer: Roger A. Garrett
Editing Engineer: Terry Solomonson

Wind Ensemble

Steven W. Eggleston, Conductor

"Alma Wesleyana" – Arranged by Peter Gilbert '98

Collegiate Choir Men's Voices

J. Scott Ferguson, Conductor

"Alma Mater" – Vera Pearl Kemp & Arnold Lovejoy
Words by Mattie Simmonds

Sine Nomine Singers

J. Scott Ferguson, Conductor
Eva Ferguson, Accompanist

"Campus Song"

"Wesleyan Will!" – John Philip Sousa
Words by Russell Harvey

"Dear Old Wesleyan" – Spencer Green '30

"Fight, Wesleyan!" – arranged by Vera Pearl Kemp

Titan Band

Roger A. Garrett, Conductor

"Fight, Wesleyan!" – arranged by Roger A. Garrett
Percussion arranged by Kevin Nichols '91

In Sync

Coached by J. Scott Ferguson

"Tribute to Wesleyan" – R.C. Smedley '03
Words by B.H. Smith '00

"Wesleyan Loyalty Song"

Titan Band

Roger A. Garrett, Conductor

"Wesleyan Cheer Song" – Ralph S. Freese '11
Adapted by Roger A. Garrett