New Campus Walking Tour Dedicated to African-American History!

African American history tourWith Black History Month winding down, University Archives is excited to share a new learning resource developed by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion: an online tour exploring our campus’ African-American history! The self-guided tour, released earlier this week, features 17 locations on campus.

“All of us need to learn this important history,” said President Loh, “these stories of African-American struggles and contributions span the history of our campus and our nation. We need to make them part of our shared memory.”

The tour can be found here, and an article from the Diamondback announcing the tour can be found here.


The Return of Bobby Seale

Tonight, as part of the College of Arts and Humanities’ “2017-18 Dean’s Lecture Series: Courageous Conversations, ARHU Resists Hate And Bias,” the University of Maryland welcomes the return of Bobby Seale! A career political activist, Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense with Huey P. Newton in October 1966. Seale will present “Resistance: From the Sixties to Trump,” which will be followed by a book signing and reception.

Bobby Seale Promo Poster 2018

This will be Bobby Seale’s third time speaking on campus. Seale first spoke on campus at Ritchie Coliseum on February 3rd, 1972. “If you want to wage a revolutionary struggle in this country it is necessary to move forward to feed and clothe the people,” said Seale, to a crowd of 700 people. Seale’s first lecture centered around the Black Panther Party, and he addressed rumors of defection within the party, their primary objectives, and widely debated use of guns for self-defense. For Seale, a primary goal of the Black Panther Party was “to teach and educate the masses of the people,” and that guns were “not the power, but are tools to be used in particular times for particular reasons.”

Seale returned to the University of Maryland on February 11, 1974, at the Grand Ballroom in Stamp Student Union. Echoing his first lecture, Seale’s again focused on defending the Black Panther Party and dispel media distortion of the party’s objectives. “They told you we were picking up guns to shoot white people,” Seale said of the media. “The power structure does not want minority peoples or white people to have unity and control over their lives, especially on a community level,” Seale told the audience at Stamp.


The 2017-2018 Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series will conclude with a lecture from award-winning journalist and NPR correspondent, Mara Liasson on Wednesday April 11, 2018 at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. For more information and to RSVP for tonight’s Bobby Seale lecture, click here. For more information on the 2017-2018 Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series, click here.


Fire! Fire!

ruins-after-1912-fireToday marks the 105th anniversary of the Great Fire of 1912, which destroyed the two largest buildings on campus at that time, the Barracks and the Administration Building. The story is a familiar one to Terrapin Tales readers, since we have blogged about this event before. You can find a good overview of this landmark event in UMD history on TT at:

We mark this important anniversary with the debut of the re-designed website about the fire, available at: This site contains photographs of the conflagration in progress and its aftermath, personal accounts from students, coverage of events in the local press, and images of the Barracks’ cornerstone and its contents.

We hope you enjoy this new resource!


20 Performers who Rocked UMD

In a letter to the Diamondback in 1969, a disgruntled student complained that other students “don’t know what they’re missing” in the music scene. Other universities hosted big-name bands like Jefferson Airplane, so why not UMD? Someone must have taken his advice because our campus exploded with music, from underground cult bands to big-name artists playing to sold out crowds. Scroll on for our list of 20 epic performers who rocked the UMD campus.

1. Elvis Presley – September 27 & 28, 1974


How could The King be anything but number 1? Although perhaps not his best years, Elvis still played to sold-out crowds in not one, but two shows in Cole Field House.

2. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis & Bruce Springsteen – April 28, 1973

Chuck Berry                     bruce

Believe it or not, The Boss was barely mentioned in the advertisements for this epic collaboration. Springsteen was still years from commercial success, but established rockers Berry and Lewis kept the crowds going until after midnight. So hyped was the show that several students were arrested for sneaking in through an open bathroom window.

3. Queen with Thin Lizzy – February 4, 1977

In a show heavy on special effects and skintight leotards, rockers Queen and Thin Lizzy lit up a crowd of 10,000 at Cole Field House, shutting it down with an encore performance of Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock.”


4. Stevie Wonder with Mandrill, Earth, Wind & Fire, and The Persuasions – March 25, 1973



Yet another historic musical collaboration hit the stage when Stevie Wonder came to town for this soul showdown. The six-hour-long show ended with his latest single, “Superstition,” although we are equally as impressed that UMD offered unlimited free parking for attendees.

5. U2 – April 25, 1983

U2 had yet to hit it big in the United States when they landed in College Park.

U2 review

Before the days of metal detectors and bag checks, enthusiastic concert-goers climbed on stage to dance with the band and Bono rode on a fan’s shoulders through the crowd.

6. Frank Zappa – various dates

frank zappa                Zappa letter

The Baltimore-born rocker played on campus at least five times between 1967 and 1978. After one such stay, several members of Zappa’s team skipped town without paying their hotel bill in full, so the owner of the local Holiday Inn sent a letter demanding payment to Zappa’s production company.

7. Billy Joel – April 30, 1977

BIlly Joel Steve Martin

It’s hard to imagine paying just $6.50 to see an artist who sells out stadiums for $300+ per seat today. The Piano Man just so happened to perform the same week as an up-and-coming comedian… look familiar?

8. The Clash – September 29, 1979

The Clash review


The gnarly British punk band almost (literally) blew out the sound system of Ritchie Coliseum. Despite technical delays and a restless crowd, The Clash destroyed their set list – and several guitars – to the delight of the sweaty, jam-packed audience.


9. Santana – October 19, 1974

Santana 2

Santana 5

As the title of the Diamondback article suggests, Carlos Santana was the focal point of his eponymous band’s nearly 3-hour-long set. The crowd of over 8,000 clapped and roared with frenetic energy through the popular hit songs and epic guitar solos.

10. The Grateful Dead – March 7, 1981

Grateful Dead review


“Deadhead” students started lining up the week before ticket sales started to score seats for this long-anticipated concert. University officials, desperate to clear the Student Union of the throngs of un-showered hopefuls, decided to sell tickets before the band’s contract had even been signed.

11. The Beach Boys – March 28, 1972

Beach Boys 2


The Boys may have been past their prime by 1972, but they proved their timeless appeal by drawing thousands to Cole Fieldhouse after the release of their 17th (!) album, Surf’s Up.


12. Ozzy Osbourne – February 14, 1983

Ozzy 2                  Ozzy security 3

The Prince of Darkness returned to UMD for a Valentine’s Day solo show after performing with Black Sabbath in 1972. A police report written by the University police expresses their concern of potential unrest due to Ozzy’s “abuse of animals… involvement with satanic groups, and desecration of monuments.”

13. The B-52s – September 11, 1980

B-52s 3

The B-52s rode the wave of their newfound fame to college campuses all over the country after topping the charts with their first hit single, “Rock Lobster.”

14. The Ramones – July 14, 1981

Ramones 4


One consistent thread throughout many Diamondback concert reviews is complaints about the terrible acoustics in Ritchie Coliseum. The Ramones were able to bop their way past the technical difficulties to jam through all of their biggest hits.


15. Rod Stewart with Faces – October 11, 1975

Rod Stewart 4

As one reviewer wrote, Stewart took the stage in satin pants and sang until his voice gave out, accompanied by guitarist Ronnie Wood (who soon moved onto the band he is most associated with today, the Rolling Stones).

16. Blue Oyster Cult – October 22, 1972

Blue Oyster Cult poster


UMD didn’t know it yet, but what it really needed in 1972 was more cowbell. Poor ticket sales actually led to a huge loss of money for the university, most likely because the crowd did not yet know that you Don’t Fear the Reaper.


17. Cyndi Lauper – May 3, 1984

Lauper took home the Grammy for Best New Artist soon after she brought her quirky brand of fun to Ritchie Coliseum.

Cyndi Lauper 2

The post-show “security report” noted that there were no incidents… despite Lauper’s late arrival.

18. Devo – November 2, 1981

Devo review


True to their quirky style, Devo’s performance was packed with flashing lights, video backdrops, and moving sidewalks. The crowd in Ritchie danced through the synthesizer-fueled “Whip It,” the song that cemented Devo as a cult favorite.


19. Steppenwolf ft. Don McLean – March 26, 1971

The Steppenwolf concert gains a spot for the sheer “rock n roll” factor of how it all went down. The Diamondback reported that disgruntled fans were arrested after turning violent and throwing rocks at policemen. The unrest threatened the future of student events on campus, as admins debated whether to invite rock musicians at all.


McLean, a little known musician at the time, was just a few months from releasing his hit song “American Pie.” His return to campus in 1973 drew a much higher turnout. Check out our previous blog post for more on the event.

20. The Talking Heads – October 13, 1978

Talking Heads 3

Rock music gave way to a tide of New Wave groups as the ’80s approached. Lead singer David Byrne grew up in Baltimore and returned home on one of The Talking Heads’ first national tours.

The Shows That Never Were


As on any big campus, UMD has its fair share of “shows that got away.” Campus legends tell of the promising acts that never materialized – like the Rolling Stones and a Springsteen solo show. Perhaps most tragically, a much-anticipated and sold-out concert by Bob Marley was cancelled at the last minute when the singer grew ill. He was sadly never able to reschedule due to his failing health.

Still, this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to campus concert history. The University Archives holds the records of Student Entertainment Events (SEE); come in and see what other famous musicians you can find in our archives!


Ferdinand Revisited

At the end of March, 20th Century Fox released a trailer for a movie that’s a new take on an old favorite: “The Story of Ferdinand.” The popular children’s book was originally published in 1936, and Disney released a short film about the timid bull in 1938, which won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) that year.

But what does this have to do with UMD history?

Well, the author of the monroe leaforiginal children’s book, “The Story of Ferdinand,” is an alumnus
of UMD! Munro Leaf graduated with a B.A. in 1927. Upon its release, his short story was considered
anti-war propaganda and was banned in many countries. Leaf defended his work, saying that the story of Ferdinand was simply “a happy ending story about being yourself.” You can read more about Leaf and his infamous book here.

Be on the lookout for the new version of this charming story about the bull who loved to smell the flowers, coming to a theater near you in December 2017!

A trip down memory lane to the Terps 2004 ACC title

Front PageWith the Terrapins hosting the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C., this weekend, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane to the last time the Terps won their conference tournament: 2004.

Maryland, led by guards D.J. Strawberry and John Gilchrist, struggled for much of the season and finished with a 7-9 record within the ACC, good enough for only the No. 6 seed.

Their path through the tournament required that they defeat the conference’s three best teams: No. 17 NC State, No. 15 Wake Forest, and rival No.5 Duke. Over the course of the 2003-04 season the Terps were a combined 0-5 against those teams.

In addition, the tournament was held in Greensboro, North Carolina, essentially home games for all three of those teams.

Sports FrontSo, while many experts didn’t expect the Terps to win, Coach Gary Williams’ squad believed in themselves.

They narrowly defeated the No. 15 Demon Deacons by one point in the first game before overcoming a 19-point deficit against the No. 17 Wolfpack to win the very next day behind a career-high 30 points from Gilchrist.

That Sunday the Terps faced No. 5 Duke, a team they had already lost to twice that season. The two teams battled intensely, and, after a tied score in regulation, they headed into overtime for the right to an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The Terps outscored Duke 18-10 in the extra session and ended the Blue Devils’ quest for a fifth consecutive tournament title. Gilchrist notched 26 points, earning him tournament MVP honors and giving the program their first conference tournament title since 1984, when they were led by coach Lefty Driesell and forward Len Bias.CanerMedley celebrates

While the fans who made the trip to Greensboro chanted “Gary! Gary!” as he cut down the nets, students in College Park once again took to the streets in ecstasy.

After the victory, the Terps entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 4 seed. They would beat Texas El-Paso in the first round before falling to Syracuse in their next game.

The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!

One more Super Terp

Getting psyched for Super Bowl LI on Sunday? You can bet one former Terp is!

joe-vellanoAtlanta Falcons defensive lineman Joe Vellano anchored the Maryland defense for four seasons, 2009-2012, before heading off to the New England Patriots for two seasons and the Indianapolis Colts for another. Vellano was re-signed by the Patriots in January 2016 but didn’t make the final roster for the fall. In a interesting twist of fate, he will line up against his former team on Sunday for perhaps the biggest game he will ever play.

Vellano joins a long list of Terps who have played in the Super Bowl. You can find more information about these terrific alumni here.

Maryland fans will be keeping a close eye on the game to see if Vellano can have the same sort of defensive impact he had when he took to the field in Maryland Stadium! May the best team win!

Soviet gymnasts visit Cole Field House at height of Cold War

   olgaOn March 21, 1973, the University of Maryland received a special visit from the Soviet Union’s women’s gymnastics team. The country’s female gymnasts had never lost a Summer Olympic Games up to that point, racking up golds at every games between 1952 and 1972.

The team’s visit featured young star Olga Korbut, who was only 17 years old when she came to College Park.

After meeting with President Richard Nixon earlier in the day, the Russian gymnasts traveled to College Park to perform in the evening. 

“He told me that my performance in Munich did more for reducing the political tension during the Cold War between our two countries than the embassies were able to do in five years,” Korbut said in The Olympic Odyssey: Rekindling the True Spirit of the Great Games.

univarch-61991-0004So, amidst the Cold War, a sellout crowd packed Cole Field House for a glimpse of Korbut and her teammates. Their performance was even televised in the D.C. region.

Korbut amazed the crowd with her signature performances on the balance beam and the floor routine, mixing in splits, somersaults and flips. Korbut even performed her famous “Korbut Flip,” a backflip on the uneven parallel bars that is still performed by gymnasts today.

At the end of the team’s performance, univarch-61991-0003the crowd rose for a standing ovation while Naval Academy students “presented the Soviets with roses and kisses,” according to The Diamondback. 

In response to the Soviets’ appearance, a group of students from the Jewish Defense League protested outside the arena.protest

The visit by the Soviet gymnasts was the second diplomatic sporting event in Cole. The preceding year, China and the U.S. faced off in a ping-pong match that was the first athletic event ever between the two nations. You can find more information about this landmark occasion here.

articleThe Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!

UMD123: 263

As a successful season comes to a close for DJ Durkin and the Maryland Terrapins football team, the curtains are drawn on another fantastic season for the 263-piece ensemble, the Mighty Sound of Maryland.

The Crown Imperial                                        PC: Ken Rubin Photography

The marching band (also referred to as MSOM) has long been a major part of the University’s culture. The group can find its roots in Maryland Agricultural College, when the college bugler brought together a 17-piece band to perform at military functions in 1908. From that point, the band began growing into the sizable and talented group we know today. The band has passed many milestones within this time period, with the inclusion the first UMD bandswomen in 1937, being integrated as a recognized ensemble in the School of Music in 1955, and even marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2000!

MAC Cadet Band
This picture, from the 1937 yearbook, depicts Misses Long, Beach, and Beane performing at All-University Night
MSOM at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2000

Of course, MSOM could never live up to its name without the hard work of over 250 students. These individuals practice up to five days a week, and perform at every home football game. The band as we know it today is made up of 11 sections, which include drumline, clarinets, mellophones, low brass (aka KAOS), flutes and piccolos, trumpets,

The infamous “Block M”                       PC: Ken Rubin Photogaphy

saxophones, tubas, colorguard, the dance team, and a twirler. This is a far cry from the 17-piece band that was created over 100 years ago! In addition to participating in the ensemble, a select group of students are employed as band staff members who are truly the backbone of the band, ensuring that everything runs smoothly.



Often imitated but never duplicated:                    Block and Mess!                          PC: Ken Rubin Photography

The Mighty Sound of Maryland is truly one of the most unique and prized characteristics of the University of Maryland. We wish them luck as they travel to support the football team at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on December 26!

This is a post in our series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in fall 2015, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out monthly; on the Terrapin Tales blog, search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter#UMD123. If you want to learn more about campus history, you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.