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Students on the quad during the Orange Central tailgate.

When you join Syracuse University, you become part of a rich history dating back to 1870 with cherished traditions that are passed down from student to student, year after year.

People wearing orange t-shirts.

The Color Orange

In 1890, Syracuse University went Orange—becoming the first university to adopt the color orange after discovering that no other college or university had claimed the singular color. Previously, the school colors shifted from light pink and pea green to light pink and blue, but the students wanted colors as bold as they were—thus, Orange was born. Today, you’ll see students sporting orange year-round, but especially on game days when our entire Syracuse and Central New York community displays their Orange pride.

People holding up the number 4.

Legend of Number 44

The number 44 holds legendary status in college football, worn by 11 players since 1954, with three—Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little—earning All-American honors as standout running backs. The University’s 13244 ZIP code and phone numbers starting with “44” pay homage to the significance of this number in our football program’s history.

Otto the Orange inside the dome.

Otto the Orange

Otto wasn’t always Syracuse University’s mascot, but the beloved orange has been a favorite for more than 40 years and, in 2023, was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. Whether cheering from the sidelines at Syracuse University games, joining community events or supporting students during exam season, Otto spreads sunshine and school spirit wherever they go.

Students cheering at a game.

National Orange Day

Syracuse University’s founding anniversary is National Orange Day. Each year’s events bring students, faculty, staff and alumni together to celebrate what it means to be Orange.

People at an outside tailgate.

Orange Central

Orange Central is Syracuse University’s amped-up version of the traditional collegiate homecoming and reunion weekend. Every fall, thousands of alumni return to campus to join students, faculty and staff for a variety of events and activities.

A person playing the chimes.

Crouse Chimes

First installed in 1889 and renovated in 1981, the Crouse Chimes are rung twice a day and again on special occasions. John Crouse purchased the bells on May 24, 1889, from the Meneely Bell Company in Troy, New York. Members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity were the first ringers of the chimes but passed on the bells to the Chimesmasters in 1989.

10 Celebrated University Traditions

From the color orange to the Kissing Bench—discover the legacy of rituals that spark school spirit and community.

Otto with balloons.
Students smiling inside the Dome.
Students smiling in the dome during game day.
Student taking a selfie with Otto the Orange.