Cal History, Spirit, and Traditions (Rhetoric 98/198, 1 Unit)


Course Contact:  Gregory Dachtler and Abigail Caine, Director of Traditions and Director of External Relations,

You’ve heard it all before: UC Berkeley is the number one public university in the world, it was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, the home of the  Campanile (the third-tallest bell and clock tower in the world), and of course, no matter how hard you look on the Periodic Table, you won’t find “Stanfordium,” but Berkelium is in spot 97! Some of us have found ourselves chanting “Roll on you Bears” from the seats of California Memorial Stadium, changing our trajectory to avoid stepping on a seal on Memorial Glade, and rubbing the 4.0 ball right before that big midterm. Since the moment we’ve stepped on campus, we have all in some way been truly inspired by the University of California. 

This course will dive into the rich history, remarkable spirit, and spectacular traditions of Cal from its founding in 1868 to the present-day. We will touch on the origins of the Stanford Axe, the Free Speech Movement, and even take some field trips around the University. Our hope is that this course will allow you to love and appreciate Cal even more. The majority of our lectures will feature an expert on the subject at hand, including professors, alumni, and faculty. From “The Play” to the Cal Marching Band, we’ll explore it all in the Cal History, Spirit, and Traditions DeCal. 

This is a one-unit course that will last for 13 weeks, with 1 hour of lecture per week. Each lecture will cover a particular concept related to the history, spirit, and traditions of the University of California, and will feature a speaker with personal experience or expertise on the topic. Speakers include the faculty, staff, alumni, and fellow students. Classes will include guest speakers or field trips to significant campus locations. Students will be expected to attend lectures and give the guest speaker utmost respect. Course assignments will include a short paper, a midterm, a (fun) final project, and engaging with speakers during class. 

If you are looking for a fun one unit class, consider this DeCal- it is nice to know about the school you have worked so hard to get to.


For the Spring 2022 semester, this course will take place on Tuesday nights from 5-6 PM in Giannini Hall.

For more information, please go to the official DeCal website and look for our class!