History and Traditions

Through nearly 130 years, the traditions that have stood the test of time—Acres of Diamonds, the Owl mascot and the Temple ‘T’—hold a special place in our hearts.

Russell H. ConwellRussell H. Conwell

Every year, Owls everywhere recognize February 15 as Russell H. Conwell's birthday. 

Temple's first president, Russell Conwell, was pastor of Grace Baptist Church and founder of Temple College. The temporary Board of Trustees elected him president of the faculty October 14, 1887, and he served until December 6, 1925.

Conwell made his mark as an attorney, a journalist and author, and as a minister and orator. He achieved his most lasting legacy, though, as an educator. More than a century later, Temple University still upholds the ideals and mission of its founder, Russell H. Conwell.

Acres of Diamonds

Temple founder Russell H. Conwell declared that we often overlook the greatness—and potential greatness—in our own communities and homes. “Greatness consists not in holding some office; greatness really consists in doing some great deed with little means, in the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life; that is true greatness.”

Be inspired and read the complete Acres of Diamonds speech.

While Temple students, alumni, faculty and staff continue this tradition, the Temple University Alumni Association (TUAA) has bestowed the Russell H. Conwell Award upon alumni for their notable achievements.Temple University seal

University Motto and Seal

Perseverantia Vincit (Perseverance Conquers)

Alma Mater 

Onward with Temple, / Banners all unfurled;
Wide flung our standards, / To the winds they're hurled.
Following our Founder / To immortal Fame;
Making true his vision, / Of a deathless name.
Hail! Alma Mater, / Honor, praise to Thee;
We pledge our lives, / Our hearts in loyalty.
Wisdom, Truth and Virtue / Built our Temple great;
Perseverance conquers; / Higher to create.

Hooter: The Owl, The Legend

Hooter the Owl represents Temple's trendsetting nod that the Owl's natural characteristics were an ideal choice to represent the ambition, innate wisdom and resourcefulness of every Temple student. These attributes can be traced from Russell H. Conwell's first students in the 1800s to tomorrow's prospective scholars.

February is a particularly special time for Hooter, as Philadelphia-area mascots and members of the Temple community gather to celebrate Hooter's birthday during a Temple home basketball game.

The Temple 'T'

Across Temple’s campuses and down Broad Street, the Temple 'T' is the iconic symbol of the university. Designed by students in a graphic arts and design class at the Tyler School of Art in 1983, the 'T' represents strength and positive character, with open ends that are symbolic of the free exchange of ideas that is a hallmark of a Temple education.

Illustrious Alumni

Talented Temple alumni are influential in every industry and profession you can imagine. Sports franchises, ground-breaking medical research, educators, environmentalists and artists of the stage, screen and in every form and medium have benefitted from their Temple experiences.

Yearbooks through the Decades

Take a trip down memory lane and peruse old yearbooks.