10 Fun Facts About Tufts University

September 09, 2015

1 What do you do if you’re Tufts student who wants to let off a little steam right before December finals when New England’s winter is at its worst? Strip down and streak naked across campus, of course. Sadly, the “Naked Quad Run,” a tradition that reigned since the 1970s was banned in 2011 for student safety reasons. In response, Tufts students that year instated the “Excessively Overdressed Quad Stroll” in which they layered up in absurd outfits and walked slowly (and safely) around the quad.

2 “The Daily Cannon” is a beloved student tradition of vandalism. A replica of a U.S.S. Constitution cannon, the Tufts Cannon is painted over on a nightly basis with campus event details and even specific messages such as retirement well wishes and marriage proposals. If more than one group wants to paint the cannon on the same night, the first to get there will camp out to fend off latecomers. The Cannon even has its own instagram account: @Tufts_Cannon.

3 According to local lore, when a relative asked Charles Tufts what he would do with his land, specifically with “that bleak hill over in Medford,” Tufts replied, “I will put a light on it.” To honor this quote, every freshman lights a candle on the President’s Lawn on the first night on campus. The candle lighting ceremony is repeated the night before graduation—some students even save their freshman year candles to re-use 4 years later.

4 Tufts’ mascot, Jumbo the elephant, has a storied history. Prior to joining the circus act of P.T. Barnum, an early Tufts trustee and benefactor, Jumbo was the largest elephant in captivity. His circus act sparked a “Jumbomania” fad in the United States. After his death, his stuffed hide was donated to Tufts and he was adopted by student athletes as the school’s mascot. For 86 years, students would pop pennies into his trunk or pull on his tail for good luck on an exam or sports game. A fire in 1975 destroyed the stuffed elephant so all that remains of him is his tail and his ashes saved in a peanut butter jar. Student athletes have adopted a new tradition of rubbing the jar for good luck and, when a new athletics director is named, there’s a ceremonial “passing of the ashes” to the successor.


5 Kissing under Bowen Gate, a beautiful brick archway on campus, is rumored to lead to marriage.

6 Tuftonia’s Day is an annual spring semester celebration of the school’s birthday. The celebration features a massive carnival with games, rides, food-trucks, and fireworks on campus.

7 Love supporting locally grown produce? Tufts Dining hosts a weekly farmers markets on campus! According to the school’s website, “the mission of the Farmers Market is to supply the Tufts community with access to fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit; improve nutritional literacy; and to support local farms and businesses.”

8 Although Tufts is best known for its International Relations program, the school has had its fair share of graduates who’ve made to Hollywood. Actors William Hurt (‘72), Hank Azaria (‘88), Meredith Vieira (‘75), Peter Gallagher (‘77), and Late Show with David Letterman producer Rob Burnett (‘84) were all Tufts alumni.

9 Remember Laguna Beach—the MTV reality show that captured the hearts of millions of high schoolers? Lo Bosworth proves once again she’s the most book smart of the bunch. She’ll be getting a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts as a graduate student this year. The subject of her admissions essay? What she’d recommend an alien eat on Planet Earth.



10 On the subject of essays, Tufts University has been known to come up with some quirky supplemental essay prompts, including: “Celebrate your nerdy side”, “What makes you happy?”, “Are we alone?”, and “What does #YOLO mean to you?” The school has even given applicants the option to create something out of a piece of paper or submit a one-minute YouTube video that “says something about you.”

Want to read how accepted Tufts students have addressed these quirky essay prompts in the past? Check out our Tufts admit profiles! If you’re already in college, make sure to sign up now to upload all of your college application materials!

Browse Successful Application Files

Tufts ‘20

Accepted to Tufts

I was a part of the IB Program at Coral Reef Senior High School. I was matched to Tufts University through the Questbridge Scholars program, and I plan on majoring in Psychology. I am the first in my family to attend college.
Tufts ‘21

Accepted to Tufts

I love learning + people!
Tufts ‘20

Accepted to Tufts

I'm a current freshman at Tufts University planning to study Comp Sci. I know how stressful the college process can be (I've practically lived it 3 times), so I'm here to help!
Tufts ‘18

Accepted to Tufts, Case, Northeastern, UVM,

I love music (playing, writing, producing) and Ultimate Frisbee, and would love to help in your college search and application process.

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