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Continued from "Traditions 'Neath the Purple and White" story

Students with their backs to the camera holding up the Axe 'Em, Jacks hand sign
Photo by Hardy Meredith '81

School spirit is led by SFA's national award-winning Cheer and Dance Teams, Lumberjack Marching Band, and Roaring Buzzsaw Band, as well as its Lumberjack and Ladyjack mascots. Students and faculty members voted for the Lumberjack as the mascot during a special assembly in 1923, according to "The Golden Years: The First Half Century of Stephen F. Austin State University" published by Bettye Herrington Craddock '71 & '72 in 1973.

"Several names were considered, and those proposing the names led yells to demonstrate the fitness of their nominations," Craddock wrote. "By vote, the assembly chose Lumberjacks, the name submitted by T.E. Ferguson, professor of English."

When she was an SFA student, Craddock met her husband, Van, while working at The Pine Log student newspaper. It and the Stone Fort yearbook were the two SFA traditions that recorded all other traditions.

The 1979 cheer squad contributed the "axe 'em" hand sign to Lumberjack customs, and SFA ROTC members began firing Ol' Cotton, a World War II-era 75 mm mountain howitzer positioned in the south end zone for each home game, every time SFA scored. Ol' Cotton is named for Lt. Gen. Orren R. "Cotton" Whiddon '55, the most senior military officer ever to have graduated from SFA.