12 thoughts on “Hooray, Hooray for the 8th of May!

  1. as a vandal (U of I) who cheers for the cougs unless we are playing each other, i loved this post. i heard it when i attended U of I in the early/mid 80s but never knew the back story. oh and btw, may is usually not much better weather than march, but as long as there’s a little sun we palouse dwellers will be out there in summer clothes and celebrating the 8th of may! 😉

  2. I lived in Stevens Hall and we were always told — by the WSU historian — that the cheer originates from a protest in the 1920s when students protested the schools female-only curfew. May 8 was the day of the protest, which was successful.
    But I suppose it got co-opted by later generations.

    • Hi Barbara. Fun to see your name pop up! Seems like the Evergreen days were a long time ago, but then just like it was yesterday. Hope you are doing well.

  3. According to Bob Smawley, ’52, “Mr. WSU,” the “official story” is that the phrase was coined to celebrate the end of the 1930 WSC Student Strike. Students, led by ASWSC President, Edward R. Murrow, had gone on strike in protest of social regulations. Bob had a wink in his eye every time I heard him tell the story. 🙂

  4. My sources say that the “holiday” was initiated by Delta Tau Delta fraternity at WSU in 1960. It not only included a celebration of NOID by the act itself, but the men of Stimson Hall searched for a willing coed who would be “sacrificed” to the goddess Minerva who overlooked the a small pool in front of the dorm. I witnessed it twice while in school in the early 1970s. The tradition came under sanction in the mid 1970s (I do not recall the actual year) when the chosen victim was not willing but the over-exuberant men proceeded to doused the unexpecting coed in spite of her pleas to be spared. Campus administrators applied sanctions to Stimson Hall and decreed that the practice would be forever banned. Having moved from eastern Washington I have not heard of the ultimate end of this part of the ritual, but I find it hard to imagine that it has not survived in some form or fashion.

    • When I got to WSU in the early 70’s any girl not wearing a dress on the 8th of May was in danger of being sacrificed to Minerva.

    • Yes, it was tradition for the Men of Stimson hall to take girls from the mall and dunk them in Minerva on the 8th of May. Since this has been banned, it has become tradition, whether by choice or force I am unsure, to empty the fountain on the 8th of May so that there is no water to dunk the girls in.

  5. I worked at Eastern Washington University from 1973 – 1993 and the 8th of May was a pretty big celebration on campus. Wet t shirt contest, keggers, the whole big deal. It was a big deal, along with streaking–which was even better. I miss my college days. It was great.

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  7. As NOID is quickly approaching, I saw your article. Being a Coug and also a librarian, I did some research while I worked at Holland. I don’t have it handy, but what I remember is the Dean Annie (the women’s dean) had forbidden blankets on picnics because you know what those kids will do with blankets! There was a protest (actually led by Jerry Sage, then President of the students at WSC, later he was an OSS officer in WWII and Steve McQueen’s character in the Great Escape was based on him.) The pressure from the protest convinced Dean Annie to relent and the ban was officially ended on May 8th (I had the year in my research, but don’t remember it now). I think I found most of this information in Sage’s biography. Great history! Now get out there and celebrate the way you’re supposed to! LOL!
    Horray horray!

  8. OK, here is the scoop!

    There was a satirist/humorist writer named David Hunt (no relation) who wrote a column ffor the Daily Evergreen. His column was called “Hurtin’ Hunt’s History and Horoscope.” He always pushed the boundaries when it came to WSU administration and what he considered its outdated policies, such as having women’s dorms on one side of campus, curfew hours for women students (10:30 PM on week nights and 1 on weekends), requiring women students to wear skirts or dresses on campus. etc. He was always attacking the Dean of Students and the Women’s and Men’s Deans in his columns.

    He also, as most of us did, grew tired of the long and cold Pullman winters. So he created a holiday, the 8th of May, which signaled the start of spring. Some said May 8th was the 69th day of the year on the Aztec calendar, but noone knew for sure. Anyway, he declared the 8th of May the day for couples to take blankets out on the golf course and “smother gophers.” His battle cry was “Hooray! Hooray for the 8th of May! Outdoor intercourse starts today!” A WSU holiday was born!

    Dave was soon kicked off The Daily Evergreen staff because the administration had had enough of this student foolishness. After all, in loco parentis was still an administration policy. But, alas, an underground newspaper, “The Borderline” was born and was popular for a couple years until Dave graduated, and it slowly drifted away.

    And that is how we came to celebrate the 8th of May in Pullman!

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