Sep 052007
Authors: Elden Holldorf

Since the early 1920s, the “A” has been prominently displayed above where Hughes Stadium now resides – on the side of the mountain. Reminiscent of when CSU was primarily an agricultural school, the “A” stands for Aggies (CSU’s past moniker).

The letter was and continues to be a billboard of CSU pride.

“Painting the ‘A’ is something more people should get involved with,” said Student Alumni Connection President Ben Gallegos-Pardo.

It is something he wants to be bigger this year and in the future, he said.

“The ‘A’ is referenced in everything from CSU to the community,” Gallegos-Pardo said. “And if we’re going to keep that notoriety, it’s something everyone needs to partake in and contribute to.”

SAC, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and Colonel William Woods are the main parties orchestrating Thursday’s re-painting. The university encourages all students to participate.

Bill Woods has been a major spearhead in keeping this tradition alive, Gallegos-Pardo said. After graduating in 1958, Woods saw the tradition start to fade and in 1982, along with SAE, made a commitment to ensure it would remain a strong, integral part of CSU tradition.

Also contributing to the effort are the redshirt freshmen football players and, for the first time, all Greek life organizations on campus.

The ‘A’ will be newly painted for the Saturday’s football game against Cal at noon, which coincides with the 26th Annual Ag Day at CSU.

SAE President David Sparling said he thinks the painting is a fantastic tradition.

“Standing on the ‘A’ gives you a sense of being part of the community and giving back that can’t be found in many other traditions; its one of the most important ones at CSU. You meet so many awesome people,” he said.

The painting of the “A” is a long-standing tradition, first started by university and community volunteers.

“There is a lot of history,” Woods said. “All those classes that have carried out the tradition.”

Staff writer Elden Holldorf can be reached at


Step 1: Acquire a pair of grubby jeans and grab a plain white t-shirt.

Step 2: Arrive on the corner of Shields and Laurel, at the Student Alumni Connection (SAC) building anytime during daylight.

Step 3: Hop a ride up to the foothills to participate in one of the most unique and time-honored traditions at CSU: “The Painting of the A”.

By the Numbers:

300 gallons of donated paint,

2 generators,

4 spray guns,

and countless buckets and mops required to whitewash this

450-foot tall and

210-foot wide start of the alphabet.

More buckets and mops will be employed this year, rather than numerous sprayers – akin to “back-in-the-day”.

Starting at 9 a.m. today, people will be shuttled to and from the foothills every hour from the SAC building (free parking). Come play your part in one of CSU’s most revered and distinctive traditions and help create a visual showing of the charisma that makes this university and larger community . . . Ram Proud!

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