Oxy History and Traditions


Several yells have been used at athletic events in Occidental’s history, but the most popular one to continue to the present is Io Triumphe, introduced to Occidental in 1905 by Frank P Beal ’07 of Albion, Michigan, where the yell was used by Albion College. According to Albion College history, the words Io Triumphe were probably borrowed from the Latin poems of the Roman writer, Horace. Both Roman troops and citizens used the phrase to mean literally “Hail, Triumphal Procession” or less formally, “Hurrah, O Triumph.” At Albion College it was believed that parts of the yell were inspired by Euripides’ play, Iphigenia in Tauris.

Through the years Io Triumphe has moved beyond use solely at athletic events to formal occasions, particularly those initiated by the alumni. By itself, Io Triumphe is used as a salutation or cheer by alumni. 


Io Triumphe! Io Triumphe!

Haben, swaben, Rebecca le animor,

Whoop-te, whoop-te, sheller-de-


Boom-de, ral-de, I-de, pa

Honeka, heneka, wack-a, wack-a

             Hob, dob, bolde, bara, bolde, bara                

Con, slomade, hob-dab—rahi.

O! C! RAH!


Tiger Roar, hear the Tiger Roar,

All you loyal Oxy men.

Tiger Roar, hear the Tiger Roar,

Oxy wins again.


Spirits higher, let your voices ring,

With and ziss, with a boom, with an ah!

Spirits high, let your voices right,

With a rah! rah! rah! rah!.

Nobody can defeat us, boys. no siree!

 Nobody can defeat us boys, on to victory!


Tiger Roar, hear the Tiger Roar,

Carry on and never stop.

Carry on to the top boys,

Don’t give in ‘til you win,

Spirits high, do or die,

Roar on, Tigers Roar!



















A continuing occidental tradition is that of an annual bonfire and rally, originally before the football game with Pomona, but after the mid-1960s prior to the Homecoming game regardless of the competing team. Although definite proof is lacking, some sources indicate that the bonfire was a part of the College’s first football game with Pomona held in 1895, but if not then, the record supports its existence within the second decade of the twentieth century.

 When still known as the “Pomona Bonfire,” the tradition was for the freshmen to gather the wood under watchful eye of sophomores guard the wooden tower against vandals. The bonfire location on the Eagle Rock campus has evolved from College hill, to the baseball field, and subsequently to the hillside parking lot.

 A traditional part of the bonfire from 1909 until well into the 1940s was the reading of the poem “O Pomona,” written by Chemistry Professor Elbert E. Chandler, on the faculty from 1909-1942.


After each football victory over Pomona College, beginning in the 1930s, a replica of the sagehen (a scrawny rubber chicken), Pomona’s mascot, had a funeral and formal burial on the occidental campus on the Monday after the game, a day designated a campus holiday.  The event, coordinated by Tiger Claws, typically began with a “service” in Alumni Chapel, then a procession to the grave near Johnson Hall with members of the football team dressed in black gowns serving as pallbearers. Appropriate words were spoken during the “service” and at the grave. This custom appears to have lasted only for a while into the 1950s.


In 1941 the Alumni Associations from both schools got together and came up with the idea of playing for "The Drum," which is awarded to the winner of the annual Pomona-Pitzer-Occidental football game.     Since 1946 the Poets and Tigers have played for a pair of bronzed cleats, worn by 1940 Whittier graduate Myron Claxton, in a rivalry game that has grown to be called the “Battle for the Shoes”.  


A huge orange flag with a block “O” was given to the College in 1934 by the O Club, an organization of varsity lettermen. Designated the Victory Flag, it was hung between Johnson and Fowler Halls to celebrate an Occidental victory, whether a debate, contest, or athletic event, with some irregularity over the years but for certain after a football victory over rival Pomona College. The flag disappeared from public display sometime in the last half of the 1950s.