Bison nickname turns 90

February 2012 marks the 90th anniversary of NDSU sports teams being known as the Bison.

According to the Feb. 17, 1922, edition of The Weekly Spectrum, the Lettermen’s Club voted the week before to adopt the nickname Bison for the university’s sports teams and to discontinue the use of Aggies. At that time, NDSU was called the North Dakota Agricultural College.

“The name will no doubt sound queer to us for a while, but when we once become used to its usage we can be proud to have our teams play under the name of the staunchest and most persistent fighters of the plains in the early days,” the un-bylined Spectrum reporter wrote.

That same year, there was also a movement to change the name of the university. According to the March 31, 1922, edition of The Weekly Spectrum, 449 out of 560 students voted on whether to change the name. The majority of students—437—voted in favor of changing the name to North Dakota State College.

The name was never officially changed to North Dakota State College, said Mike Robinson, director of the Institute for Regional StudiesArchives and University Archives. However, old publications show students started referring to the university as North Dakota State, or NDS.

More Bison history available on the NDSU Archives website and NDSU Archives on Flickr.