NTK Traditions of Iowa State

Dillon Bauer

Since the beginning of Iowa State University in 1868, history and tradition have made this campus unique and personal. 

The Campanile was born in the essence of a love story. Edgar Stanton, one of the first to graduate from Iowa State in 1872, was a part of Iowa State for 50 years. He wanted to create a memorial for his wife, Margaret MacDonald, who was also a part of Iowa State for 25 years, when she passed away.

The tradition of the Campanile says that if two people have a kiss under the Campanile at the stroke of midnight during Veishea or Homecoming, they are considered Iowa Staters.

Veishea is another huge event that dates back to 1922 that celebrates our founding colleges. These colleges include Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics and Agriculture.

“Veishea used to be an open house shown to the whole nation, now its geared more to the students as a week for them,” said Vern Hawkins, who has worked for admissions at Iowa State for the past 42 years. It now has a lot to offer the students with concerts, sports tournaments, food and activities, as well as the famous mini cherry pies.

As a symbol for Veishea, our swans Elaine and Lancelot really have a big part in our Iowa State tradition. The Veishea parade has a float shaped like a swan that leads its way past Lake LaVerne during the parade.

Another love tradition that is set in place is if a couple walks around Lake LaVerne in silence three times, they are destined to be together forever.

One unique tradition about Iowa State is the Zodiac that is positioned inside the north entrance of the Memorial Union. The Zodiac was originally designed to be raised up so when students walk over it the bronze will flatten out over time.

No one really knows when the first students started walking around the Zodiac, but to this day it is believed that if a student walks over the Zodiac, they will flunk their next exam. If one does step on the Zodiac, flipping a coin into the Fountain of Four Seasons will reverse the curse.

“The traditions really do set Iowa State apart from others. Everybody will find their time at Iowa State one way or another, it is all tradition,” said Hawkins.