Model T Cruising Jayhawk Boulevard

Catherine Sherman

Leawood, United States

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Artist's Description

On a quiet Sunday morning, a Ford Model T cruises Jayhawk Boulevard, which is the main street of the University of Kansas campus in Kansas. During the week, only official cars and buses are allowed on the street, so it’s a treat to be able to travel the boulevard.

At the end of the boulevard is the house of Chi Omega, Lambda chapter, and its iconic fountain. I’m a member of Chi Omega and lived in this house while a KU student, so this will always be a nostalgic view for me.

Chi Omega is a women’s fraternity and the largest member of the National Panhellenic Conference with more than 178 active collegiate chapters and over 240 alumnae chapters.

Banners in Crimson and Blue, the KU colors, line the boulevard, celebrating 150 years of Rock Chalk tradition. Rock Chalk is the school cheer.

From "The Rock Chalk Chant is perhaps the most distinctive cheer in all of college sports. Some have likened it to a Gregorian chant, but anyone who has been in Allen Fieldhouse and heard the chant start low, then build and roll over the crowd knows that it is much, much more.

The “Rock Chalk” chant dates to 1866, when it was adopted by the University Science Club. A chemistry professor, E.H.S. Bailey and some of his associates were returning to Lawrence from Wichita on a train. As the story goes, they passed the time by trying to create a rousing cheer. The sound of the train’s wheels on the rails suggested a rhythm and a cadence to them. At first, the cheer was “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU” repeated three times.

Even though KU didn’t have a football team until four years later, KU students quickly took up the chant. Later, an English professor suggested “Rock Chalk,” in place of “Rah, Rah” because it rhymed with Jayhawk and because it was symbolic of the limestone, also known as chalk rock, surrounding Mount Oread, the site of the Lawrence Campus. It became the official cheer of the University in 1897.

Teddy Roosevelt pronounced the Rock Chalk Chant the greatest college chant he’d ever heard. It was used by Kansas troops fighting in the Philippines in 1899, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and World War II. At the Olympic games in 1920, the King of Belgium asked for a typical American college yell. The assembled athletes agreed on KU’s Rock Chalk and rendered it for His Majesty.

The words to the chant are simple. “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU” repeated five times. The chant is special not because of the words, but because of the tone in which it is chanted and the distinctive cadence in which each verse is delivered."

The Ford Motor Company produced the Model T automobile from 1908 to 1927, assembled in factories around the world.

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