This item originally appeared in the Fall-2004 Bulldog Survival Guide issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

There are several stories haunting Tech's campus, and do not be afraid to take "haunt" literally.

Rumors, tales, legends -- Tech has them.

"Tech's legends make for good stories and good traditions," Jackie Stevens, a senior general studies major and Orientation Student Assistant, said.

Stevens said there are three well-known stories at Tech.

She said everyone believes parts of all of the stories.

"It's up to the individual whether or not they believe," Stevens said.

Stevens said the story of Spirit of '88 is printed in Tech football programs. Stevens said in order for the football team to move into division I-A, they had to suffer through a rigorous season.

Stevens also said the football team sacrificed their season so Tech could achieve a position in the prestigious I-A division in 1988.

In honor of the football team's contribution to Tech, a bronze bulldog statue was donated to the football stadium. It is tradition for the football players to touch the statue before each home game. Some attribute the 18 consecutive home game victories, following 1988, to touching the bulldog statue.

"I want to believe it because of the spirit it brings," Stevens said.

Another legend explains why Tech has a bulldog for a mascot and why the university's colors are red and blue.

The story, Stevens said, can be traced back to 1899.

After adopting a stray bulldog from the edge of campus, five Tech students went back to the house they were renting.

Later that night, a fire broke out, burning down the students' residence.

All students survived, thanks to the nameless bulldog. He barked until all were awake. Unfortunately for the brave bulldog, he was found dead in the house, from smoke inhalation.

Stevens said the students decided to bury their hero on campus, where the Tech seal is now located.

A blue jacket and a red jacket were used to wrap the dog.

Another legend involves a more morbid subject.

Stevens said the story of Vera and Howard Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts is possibly the most intriguing of all of the tales.

Story has it Vera, an aspiring young actress, hung herself in Howard after losing the lead role to her roommate.

The legend says that Vera haunts the auditorium.

Her presence is made known by strange sounds, unexplainable disturbances and one chair being pushed down, as if someone were sitting there watching.

Vera, in fact, was not a student. Vera Alice Paul was a speech and English professor.

She founded the Tech Theatre Players, the first theater program, in 1926.

When Howard Auditorium was built in 1940, she directed the first plays performed there.

Even so, students will still say Vera's presence is felt.

"Sometimes when I look out from on the stage, I can see one or two chairs down," Travis Napper, a junior marketing major, said.

All of these Tech legends circulate through the student body, and even though they are only stories, students said they keep things exciting.

Omar Sims, a junior biology major, said the stories add to Tech's school spirit.

"Everyone has stories from the past," Sims said.

"They are small stories, but you come to appreciate them."

Brandon Williams, a senior electrical engineering technology major, said he enjoys hearing the stories.

"It's more or less to keep you interested," Williams said. "Everyone likes to hear a good story."