Painting the A: maintaining the tradition

Students carrying bucket of paint up a hill

When CSU freshmen painted the A on Aug. 27, they continued a long tradition dating back to 1923.

The A’s story began on December 4, 1923, when students agreed during a school assembly to create an insignia on the hogback west of campus. Work began a week later when students cleared underbrush and moved rocks under the A Club’s supervision. The college had acquired a long-term lease from landowner R.G. Maxwell for $1. Freshmen whitewashed the A, starting an annual rite that became part of the incoming class’s induction into the Aggie — and then Rams — family.

Today, the CSU Alumni Association buys the environmentally friendly paint and a local gas company hauls it up to the top of the hogback, where students bused from Moby Arena use spray guns to renew the treasured symbol.

Last February, the City of Fort Collins renewed CSU’s right to maintain the A for the next decade.

Alumni who come back to campus for Homecoming & Family Weekend this year can see the A in all its glory on Friday, Oct. 7, during the Friday Night Lights pep rally, which includes a bonfire and illumination of the A. Visit the homecoming website for details.