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Hail! Hail! to Michigan!

As one of America’s first public universities, the University of Michigan has almost 200 years of history to share. U-M’s hallways have been home to astronauts, professional athletes, Pulitzer Prize winners, Olympians, internationally acclaimed performing artists and composers, Supreme Court Justices, best-selling novelists, artists and filmmakers – all of whom have helped shape the University’s rich traditions and unwavering Maize and Blue pride. Every year, thousands of students join the Michigan family and become a part of that amazing legacy. Learn where it all began.

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Championships

Michigan has a winning tradition, and the proof is in the University’s 56 national championships and league-leading 367 Big Ten championships. From U-M’s first Big Ten titles in 1898 (football) and 1899 (baseball), to its first national title in 1901 (football), to the most recent NCAA champions, men’s gymnastics in 2013 and 2014. From the first women’s NCAA title in 2001 (field hockey) to the first Women’s College World Series trophy east of the Mississippi (2005), the Wolverines continue to be the Leaders and Best.

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The Big House

Michigan Stadium, known affectionately as ‘The Big House’ by U-M students, alumni and Wolverine fans worldwide, was completed in 1927. It cost over $950,000 to build and was the largest college-owned stadium in the country, with seating for 84,401. The Wolverines played their first game at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 1, 1927, defeating Ohio Wesleyan, 33-0, and the stadium was officially dedicated on Oct.22, 1927, with a 21-0 win over none other than rival Ohio State. Today, with a seating capacity of 107, 601, the Big House remains one of the largest and most iconic athletic venues in the world.

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The Wolverine

It’s hard to pinpoint just how the wolverine came to be the mascot for the University of Michigan. Urban legends abound - some attribute the name to the history of wolverine fur trading in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, while others say Michiganders are like wolverines in temperament - fierce and tenacious. The only two live wolverines ever to have appeared at Michigan Stadium made the rounds on game days in 1927. Bennie and Biff, as they were called, soon became too ferocious for their handlers, and they stopped appearing at games after only one year. The symbol of the wolverine, however, has endured.

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The Winged Helmet

Michigan’s iconic winged helmet dates back to 1938 and was designed with both style and utility in mind. At the time, the Wolverines were using a solid black helmet, which was too plain for football coach Fritz Crisler. His Maize and Blue winged design added some personality to Michigan’s uniform - plus, it made receivers easier to spot downfield. Since its debut on Oct. 1, 1938, the winged design has remained one of the most recognizable symbols in college sports. It has served as the helmet design for the ice hockey and lacrosse teams, while the catchers for the baseball and softball teams, field hockey goalies and the rowing team also display Crisler's handiwork.

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The Victors Fight Song

Michigan’s fight song, The Victors, is one of the most recognizable in the nation, and for good reason. It’s been around since 1898, when then-music student Louis Elbel composed it in celebration of Michigan’s Western Conference championship that year. John Philip Sousa’s band was the first to play the fight song publicly, in May of 1899, and Big-Band icon Sousa later called it the "best college march ever written."

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Rivalries

U-M is lucky to have three intense rivalries: conference foes Michigan State and Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Doesn’t matter what sport it is, it’s a matter of pride - no one holds anything back. Michigan-Ohio State football was voted the best rivalry in ALL of sports in an ESPN poll, and the intensity of that rivalry carries across every team on campus, every fan, alum and student. Having two major Big Ten universities within 60 minutes brings out the best across the entire state anytime the Wolverines take on the Spartans. And Notre Dame, well it’s classic, tradition-laden competition. You want passion? These rivalries have it!

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