Mascot & Nickname
In 1921 a contest was held to pick a name for the athletic teams at what was then called Indiana State Normal School. Up until this time the term “Fighting Teachers” was frequently used in press accounts of athletic contests. In January, 1922, it was announced that the name Sycamores had won a popular vote of the student body, although there is some question as to how serious the student body was in picking the name. Nevertheless, Indiana State University has used this rather unique name since this date. The problem has been that a Sycamore is a tree and does not lend itself very well to creation of a mascot. Athletic teams have been known in the past as “The Fighting Trees,” which was not considered a very glamorous or intimidating a concept. For a period of time in the 1950s and 1960s, there actually was a tree mascot developed, but this posed obvious problems of embarrassment with other mascots, when the University played such schools as the Butler Bulldogs or the Ball State Cardinals.

In 1969 a committee created the Chief Quabachi concept as a mascot for the school. This Indian Chief (and accompanying legend) was used as a mascot until 1989, when the University dropped its use of the Indian in response to a variety of objections over use of the Indian caricature. In 1995, the Indiana State University Department of Athletics announced plans for a search for a new mascot to accompany the traditional Sycamores nickname. After taking suggestions the Department of Athletics submitted a list of finalists for the ISU student body to vote. On December 6, 1995, Sycamore Sam - a unique blue and white animal–made its debut at a Sycamore men’s basketball game versus Loyola University. On December 19, 2005, Indiana State celebrated Sycamore Sam’s ten year anniversary with a birthday party.
Blue and White
The school colors of Indiana State University since 1899, when it was announced the Yale Blue and White would replace the colors of Salmon Pink and White. The colors are also applied to the Blue and White Parade and the Blue and White Dance held during Homecoming each fall.
The term Home-coming was first used in print announcements for the Alumni-Varsity Basketball Game on December 9, 1916. By the year 1919 this even became known as Blue and White Day and featured dances and entertainments for alumni of the Normal School. In 1921 the events were organized around a football game scheduled earlier in the autumn. A bonfire and pep rally were added to the festivities in 1922; the Blue and White Parade in 1923; and in 1937, Bette Whitmore (Kappa Kappa) was elected Homecoming Queen.
Fight Song
“On You Fighting Sycamores,” the University’s fight song, was authored and arranged by Joseph A. Gremelspacher, Professor of Music, as a pep song. It was first performed at a Homecoming even pep rally on Oct. 20, 1939. It goes as follow:
March on, march on, you fighting
Sycamores, Sycamores
March on, you Statesman tried and true
March on, march on to glorious victory
Raise that flag of royal blue

March on, march on, you fighting
Sycamores, Sycamores
Shout out that victory song
Onward, ever onward to our goal
As we march on and on