Beloved Traditions Turn 100 Years Old

After the Eagle was chosen as mascot, this illustration appeared in the 1922 Yucca.
After the Eagle was chosen as mascot, this illustration appeared in the 1922 "Yucca."

Charles Langford, a student at North Texas State Normal College from 1920 to 1923, became a yell leader after being sidelined by a football injury. According to the Campus Chat, he was not content with the songs being used at the time.

So, in 1922, he wrote the words to "Our College Song," with such lyrics as, "Down the corridor of years, we'll forget the joys and tears, but the Normal, the Normal, we love!"

"You will be proud of it in the days to come," the Chat told its readers.

The newspaper was right. That song, now known as "Glory to the Green and White," was adopted as North Texas' alma mater and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It has been sung at the end of athletics events, commencement ceremonies and other occasions through the years. The words have been updated to reflect North Texas' name changes, but the sentiment remains.

The music was composed by Julia Smith ('24), a talented musician whose father was a math professor at the college. Smith gained fame as a composer and concert pianist. Langford became a football official and businessman.

The year 1922 was a big one for UNT traditions, as that's also the year the Eagle was selected as the mascot. Students voted for it, almost unanimously, over such choices as dragons, hawks and lions.

Charles Langford in 1920s football gear and Julia Smith with a saxophone
Left, student Charles Langford wrote the original lyrics to the alma mater. Right, student Julia Smith composed the music for the song.

"The keen eye, the speed and endurance, the aggressiveness, the beauty, the strength and the independence of the Eagle typify similar qualities found in our teams and in our school," the Yucca yearbook proclaimed.

While the name of our mascot has changed -- from Scrappy to Eppy to Scrappy again -- the Eagle has persevered. There have been real live eagles and even a human mascot named Mr. Eagle. Today, with spirited antics at campus events or immortalized on a bench outside the University Union (a favorite for graduation pictures and for students to put on their 'gram), Scrappy is ever present on campus.

sheet music
"Our College Song," today known as "Glory to the Green and White," was adopted in 1922.