Traditions at the University of Michigan
Block M in the Diag — A gift from the class of 1953, the bronze Block M in the center of the Diag has a legend attached to it: if you step on it, you’ll fail your first bluebook exam. Be careful!
Engineering Arch — Legend has it that if you kiss someone underneath the Engineering Arch (in what is now called West Hall) that’s the person you’ll marry.
Maize and Blue — In 1867, students chose azure blue and maize as the school colors. In 1912, school officials finally got around to choosing ribbons representing the official shades of maize and blue. However, the colors traditionally associated with the University of Michigan are the deep blue and bright gold chosen by the Athletic Department. The official colors now used by the University are PMS 282 and PMS 7406, a maize-and-blue color palette that falls between the deep colors of athletics and the pale shades of the original academic ribbons.
Michigan Marching Band — Historically ranked as one of the best in the nation, the Michigan Marching Band was formed in 1896 and is an important part of every football Saturday. From the pre-game rehearsal and march to the stadium, through the M fanfare and drum major backbend, to multiple versions of “The Victors,” nothing says Michigan spirit like the marching band!
Winged Helmet — Until Fritz Crisler arrived in 1938, University of Michigan football players had plain black helmets. Crisler thought that a more unique helmet could be helpful to his passers as they tried to spot their receivers downfield. Now one of the most recognizable symbols in college football, the maize and blue winged helmet has also been adopted for use by many other sports teams.
The Wolverine — Michigan fans have been calling themselves ‘wolverines’ since the 1860s, although no one knows exactly why. In 1927, football coach Fielding H. Yost decided to have live wolverines (in cages) in the stadium for football games, but had to discontinue this after one year since the animals grew too large and ferocious.