1) Our mascot “Jumbo” the elephant is the only college mascot found in Webster’s Dictionary.
2) Tufts University was founded because the Universalist Church wanted to open a college in New England in the 1840s.
3) The hill we all complain about is officially known as Medford’s “Walnut Hill.”
4) P.T. Barnum (sound familiar?), a circus showman who was also an early trustee and benefactor of Tufts, donated the stuffed hide of Jumbo to the university.
5) Tufts College opened with one building, seven students, and four professors.
6) The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy began as a joint effort between Tufts and Harvard University.
7) In 1975, faulty wiring caused Barnum Hall (which held Jumbo’s hide) to burn down. Phyllis Byrne, the administrative assistant in the athletics department, dispatched a colleague to collect some of Jumbo’s ashes in an empty peanut butter jar. Now, when a new athletics director is named, there is a ceremonial “passing of the ashes” to the successor.
8) As a good luck charm, students used to pop pennies in Jumbo’s trunk, or give a tug on his tail.
9) Tufts’ official colors (brown and blue) were selected by the student body in 1876, but they were only officially approved in 1960 by the university trustees.
10) In 1865, a water reservoir for Charlestown was constructed on the Hill. It was known as the “Rez.” The name stuck.