Roadrunner Traditions

For a university that has only been around for a little over 50 years, UTSA has rich traditions that convey our story of community and cultural diversity. Below are just a few of the unique traditions and events that unite generations of Roadrunners together in shared experiences.

Shared ExperiencesTreasured Traditions

From Rowdy to Día en la Sombrilla, watch UTSA's most beloved traditions come to life!

Start Your Roadrunner Experience

Birds Up!Roadrunner Hand Sign

The origins of the Roadrunner hand sign have become a mixture of myth and memory, but it's one of the easiest ways for Roadrunners from throughout the ages to show their UTSA spirit.

Next time you hear someone yell ‘Birds Up!’ at a game, event or just in passing, toss up the Roadrunner hand sign to show your UTSA pride.

Birds Up
  1. Open your hand with your palm facing out and away from you then
  2. Curl your first three fingers toward the center of your palm, leaving your thumb and pinky fingers upright.

Your thumb is the roadrunner's head and your pinky represents the tail. #BirdsUp

Sombrilla Fountaion

Good & Bad The Fountain of Luck

The Sombrilla Fountain is one of the most recognizable landmarks at UTSA. It can also bring you good luck, but only during finals. Touch the fountain wall on finals week, so campus legend goes, and you're on track for a good showing on your exams. Touch the fountain wall on any other time during the year? It's bad luck.

Bronze heart

Miracles Milagros

UTSA has a lot of heart. Thirty-one hearts, to be exact. Hidden in plain sight on the facades of Downtown Campus buildings are 31 bronze hearts sculpted by alumna Diana Rodriguez Gil, MFA '86, for her "Milagros" art project. The hearts, scattered across the grounds, are said to represent the love and dedication that UTSA's community is known for. Tradition also holds that students can rub a heart for a miracle. Can you find them all?

Mascot Rowdy the Roadrunner

In 1977, UTSA hosted an election to determine a school mascot. Many choices were considered, including the armadillo, stars, eagle, jaguar, roadrunner, puma, toro, and vaquero. The armadillos and stars won the election, knocking the roadrunner from contention. However, a voided election forced a second vote, and the roadrunner staged a surprising comeback. On December 12, 1977, the roadrunner officially became UTSA's mascot. Four years later, when the university launched its intercollegiate athletics program, the need arose for an energetic roadrunner on the sidelines to join the cheerleaders and pep up the crowd. Antonio Gonzalez III, the first student to wear the Roadrunner Mascot costume, made his debut by 'hatching' from an egg during a basketball pep rally on November 24, 1981. Rowdy's name is believed to have come from the 'rowdy' nature of the university's spirit squad.

Rowdy cheering
Grad showing off their ring wearing graduation regalia

Alamo Class Rings

When UTSA students graduate, many receive a class ring. The ring, which serves as a symbol of pride and accomplishment, creates a bond between alums and future graduates. It also connects our graduates' accomplishments to the deep and rich history of San Antonio and Texas: since 2012, every UTSA class ring has stayed overnight at the Alamo the night before the ring ceremony. The rings are hand-delivered by the UTSA Alumni Association in a secure box as part of the cherished tradition.

Rowdy statue in front of the MS building

roadrunner Rowdy Statue

Overlooking the heart of campus is a 6-foot-tall, 11-foot-long, 1,000-pound iron statue of the school's mascot. This iconic sculpture of Rowdy the Roadrunner arrived on campus in September 2013, thanks to the generosity of many supporters. Funded by a student-led donor campaign called 'Bring Rowdy Home', the statue was created by Raymond George (R.G.) Box who studied native roadrunners roaming his property as inspiration.

Día En La Sombrilla

Fiesta is a major San Antonio tradition - a weeks-long spring celebration of the city's vibrant community. It shouldn't be any surprise that UTSA joins in the event festivities. UTSA is home to Día En La Sombrilla, a daylong fair that takes place in the Sombrilla Plaza and features food, music, medals, and cascarones (hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with confetti or small toys). UTSA is also a mainstay at nearly every Fiesta parade — keep an eye out for the university's spirited floats.

UTSA Fight Song

Go, Roadrunners, Go!
On to vict'ry with all your might.
Fight, Roadrunners, Fight!
For the Blue and the Orange and the White.
We fight for U-T-S-A
Alma Mater proud and strong.
Win, Roadrunners, Win!
And unite in our battle song.
(Repeat for second verse)

Band on the field

UTSA Alma Mater

From our hills of oak and cedar
To the Alamo
Voices raised will echo
As, in song, our praises flow
Hail Alma Mater!
Through the years our loyalty will grow
The University of Texas
San Antonio


Homecoming began in 1985 to bring students and alumni together to celebrate their connections to UTSA. Best Fest, the selection of the Spirit of the Roadrunner award recipients (formerly Mr. and Ms. UTSA), and, of course the Homecoming football game are highlights during a full week of activities.

Los PaisanosMariachis

Since UTSA's first graduation celebration in August 1974, mariachis have performed to celebrate these major educational milestones. With origins from Mexico and deep-rooted in the Hispanic culture, mariachi music is often present at important events and celebrations in the Latinx community. With nearly 60% of students identifying as Latino, UTSA celebrates its designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution and embraces the strong presence of the Hispanic culture across its campuses and throughout the City of San Antonio.

San Antonio skyline