Sesquicentennial celebration

History of Iowa State: Facts and Trivia

Sponsored by the University Archives, Iowa State University Library

Copyright 2006


"Small Train", n.d.


Test Your ISU I.Q.

(Answers at the end of the page)


1. From 1891-1907, a small train ran between downtown Ames and the Iowa State College campus.  This train delivered mail to the post office located inside the Hub and carried building materials used in constructing Marston Engineering Hall, the Campanile, and other campus buildings.  The fare was five cents each way and ran about every two hours beginning around 6 a.m. and ending about 9 p.m.


This train had a special nickname, what was it?


A. The Little Engine That Could

B. The Dinkey

C. Thomas the Tank Engine

D. The Rail Express



2. If you were an ISU student and went "campaniling," what would you be doing?


A. Sledding down the hill by the Knoll

B. Assisting University Carilloneuer Tin-Shi Tam as she plays the Campanile bells

C. Kissing your significant other under the Campanile at midnight

D. Avoiding the Zodiac in the Memorial Union



3. Who are Lancelot and Elaine?


A. President and Mrs. Geoffroy

B. Athletic coaches

C. The top professors for 2005

D. Swans currently residing on Lake LaVerne and originally donated by the Class of 1931.


4. During the 1940s, a Daily staff writer, Don Jackson, introduced the world to Harry and Ed.  According to Jackson, Harry and Ed were employed by the University to fly around the radio tower located in Pammel Court in order to make it appear that the red light on top of the tower was blinking.  What type of animals were Harry and Ed?


A. Ducks

B. Crows

C. Flying pigs

D. Flying monkeys


5. From 1915-1960, the Iowa State College student chapters of Sigma Delta Chi and Theta Sigma Phi published a campus humor magazine.  What was the name of this publication?


A. Blue Book

B. Green Gander

C. Purple People-eater

D. King James Bible



6. Which U.S. President was a Grand Marshal for the VEISHEA parade?


A.     George H. Bush

B.     Harry S. Truman

C.     Jimmy Carter

D.     Ronald Reagan


7. Who did not select a VEISHEA Queen of Queens?

A.     Bing Crosby

B.     Cary Grant

C.     Bob Hope

D.    David Hasselhoff


8. Who was the last to be crowned VEISHEA Queen of Queens?

A.     Joyce Stout

B.    Darlene Mote

C.    Mary Janet McDonald  

D.     Nancy Chase


9.  What was the name of Iowa State University's yearbook (1894-1995)?

A.     Cardinal and Gold

B.     The Bomb

C.    Memories

D.     The Key 


10. Who was the first person to receive an M..S. degree from Iowa State?

    A.     J.C. Arthur

    B.     J.B. Davidson

    C.     Edgar Stanton

    D.     John Stevens



11. What is the oldest structure on Campus?

A.     Morrill Hall

B.     Beardshear

C.     Farm House

D.     Marston Hall



12. Who purchased the first ten bells for the Campanile?

A.     Edgar Stanton

B.     Adonijah S. Welch

C.     Anson Marston

D.     Cessna Orange


13. Up until the 1960s, "Five Pound Parties" were a frequent celebration in Iowa State's sororities and women's dormitories.  The hostess brought a five pound box of chocolates to be shared with her housemates.  What did "Five Pound Parties" commemorate?


A. Successful completion of a an early version of "Lighten Up Iowa"

B. The end of finals

C. Becoming an "official" Iowa Stater after being kissed under the Campanile at midnight

D. The hostess becoming engaged to be married


14. One of our most famous graduates is George Washington Carver.  At the time he attended school at Iowa State (1891-1896) he was acquainted with three future Secretaries of Agriculture.  Which of the following Secretaries did not live in Ames in the 1890s?


A.     Henry A. Wallace.

B.     Ezra Taft Benson

C.     James "Tama Jim" Wilson.

D.     Henry C. Wallace.


15. In recent years, riots connected with VEISHEA have brought Iowa State national attention.  Few remember a three night student rampage on October 18, 19 and 20, 1953.  Students set fires, tipped over sheds, blocked Lincoln Way (then U.S. Highway 30) and at one point demanded more tear gas.  Police were called in from Iowa Falls, Eldora, Boone, Marshalltown, and Des Moines.  Media coverage included a three page photographic spread in the popular weekly magazine, Life.  Why were the students rioting?


A.     They wanted to dance the Tango, which was banned on campus.

B.     They wanted a day off from school to celebrate the football team's upset win over Missouri in the Homecoming game.

C.     They wanted extended visitation hours in women's residences.

D.     They wanted to attend "unsanctioned" events, that is, those that were not sponsored by a University group.


16. Social rules and regulations for undergraduate students were much more stringent in the past than they are today.  Women, were required to sign out whenever they left their dormitory or sorority after 6:00 p.m. and were to be back at specified times or face penalties.  Women students needed letters from their parents if they wished to go home for the weekend, or even if they wished to ride in automobiles.  Eventually, times changed, and women students were allowed to determine their own hours.  This privilege was extended first to upperclass women, and finally to freshman women.  What was the first school year there were no set hours at all for women students?


A.     1955/56.

B.     1957/58.

C.     1963/64.

D.     1971/72.


17. What about no set hours for men students?


A.     1955/56.

B.     1963/64.

C.     1971/72.

D.     Men had no set hours.


18. From 1868 to the 1930s, student literary societies were a popular activity.  The first four literary societies were Philomathean (1868), Crescent (1870), Bachelor Debating Society (1870), and Cliolian (1871).  In addition to weekly meetings where members presented speeches and participated in debates, what did these student societies do?


A.  Organize visits to Des Moines for culture starved students

B.  Start The Aurora, the first student publication in 1873

C.  Raise funds to build the Campanile

D. Dig Lake LaVerne


19. In the 1960s, the Ward System (later the Independent Student Association) sponsored what were called IBM Dances.  Where did the name come from?


A. IBM was an acronym for Intramural Ball and Masquerade

B. The dances were held In the Basement of Marston (Hall)

C. Students were treated to ice cream, bananas, and maraschino cherries (in other words, banana splits)

D. Students were matched up using questionnaires which were run through the Computer Center's IBM computer


20. Carrie Lane Court and Catt Hall are both named for Carrie (Lane) Chapman Catt, the women suffrage leader and peace activist who graduated from Iowa State College (University) in 1880.  What is she known for having done at Iowa State as a student?


A.  She helped organize the Ladies Military Company

B. She was the first woman to give an oration before a campus debating society

C. She was the only woman in the class of 1880

D. All of the above


21. Which one of the following was NEVER a football coach at ISU?


A. Jimmy Johnson  (Coach of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys)

B. John Cooper  (Coach of Ohio State)

C. Earle Bruce  (Coach of Ohio State)

D. Lou Holtz (Coach of Arkansas, Notre Dame, and South Carolina)


22. Which of the following names individuals has not worked for Iowa State?


A.     Orange H. Cessna

B.     Precious Mabel Nelson

C.     Peerless Price

D.     Jules Cool Cunningham



1. B, the Dinkey

2. C, kissing your significant other under the Campanile at midnight

3. D, the swans residing on Lake LaVerne

4. A, ducks.  Were they employed?  Only Payroll knows for sure.

5. B, the Green Gander

6. D, Ronald Reagan

7. D, David Hasselhoff

8. A, Joyce Stout

9. B, The Bomb.  The class of 1894 wanted a "big explosion."

10. A, J.C. Arthur, who specialized in plant pathology, received the first M.S. degree conferred at Iowa State in 1877. He was also the last surviving member of the first graduating class (1872) when he passed away in 1942.

11. C, Farm House

12. A, Edgar Stanton, Iowa State's first graduate, in honor of his first wife, Margaret.

13. D, the hostess becoming engaged.

14. B, Ezra Taft Benson

15. B, they wanted a day off from school to celebrate the football victory, of course.

16. D, 1971/1972

17. D, men had no set hours

18. B, they started Iowa State' first student publication, The Aurora.

19. D, an early form of computer matchmaking, using the IBM computer

20. D, all of the above

21. D, Lou Holtz

22. C, Peerless Price