Skule Traditions

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Lady Godiva

Lady Godiva is a historical figure who is honoured by engineers as the patron saint of engineering. She is heralded as such a saint due to her willingness to sacrifice for the sake of public good, and for her humility and dedication to society. In the 11th century, the people of Coventry were under the rule of Earl Leofric and were being taxed harshly. In those days, the feudal system was the means of government in England, and the Lord ruled over the town and set taxes for the townspeople. The rulers taxed their people to pay for their luxuries while the taxes made the peasants' lives miserable. In addition, the taxes increased every year. During one harvest season, the taxes had reached such a high level that it threatened the livelihood of the townspeople. Lady Godiva, Earl Leofric's wife, took pity on the townspeople and repeatedly asked him to lower the taxes. He eventually agreed to doing so only if she rode through the streets of town naked on a horse. Out of respect, the townspeople averted their eyes while she rode through town, except for one man, who could not resist the temptation. This is to be said as the origination of the word 'Peeping Tom'. After her valiant ride through the town, Earl Leofric kept his promise and lowered the taxes. Godiva's story is one of self-sacrifice and devotion to the benefit of society. She is the epitome of the character traits that are required of every Engineer. She understood that her duty to her citizens was more important than her own feelings and desires. Now, the Engineer's integrity must be maintained because in this day and age, money is too often taking precedence over safety and public good. She embodies the spirit of our noble profession, and we should take heart from her story to stand up for what is right in the face of adversity, instead of being passive spectators. And thus she has become an icon for Engineers everywhere.

At U of T, Lady Godiva is celebrated by our Lady Godiva Memorial Band, as well as Godiva Week, a week of fun festivities in remembrance of this figure.

Why Purple, of all the colours?

April, 1912. The Unsinkable is sinking. While all the passengers of the Titanic were under panic and trying to save their own lives, the engineering crew were working non-stop to keep the furnace running at maximum. The smoke coming out of the enormous furnace could be seen miles away and gave the exact position of the sinking vessel to any ship on their way to rescue. The entire engineering crew of the Titanic went down with the ship.

The colour of the engineers' overalls on the Titanic was purple. In honour of the engineers who died on board, purple was made the official colour of the engineering profession. Like the iron ring in Canada, purple is a reminder to all engineers of the history and responsibility of their profession.

In the early '70's, engineering upper years would dye Frosh's hands purple. By the later ' 70's, Frosh could expect to have their face or arms purpled (note the use as a verb) as well. In the early '80's, the second year students would literally throw Frosh in a bathtub filled with the purple agent.

The Skule™ Cannon

The Skule™ Cannon, also known as Ye Olde Mighty Skule™ Cannon, is the official mascot of Skule™, the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. It is a hand-held custom-designed piece which is fired at many major University and Faculty events. The Skule™ Cannon has been in existence since at least 1936, and numerous Cannons have been forged over the years. Old retired Cannons have often been presented to historically significant members of the University community, such as former Assistant Dean Malcolm McGrath, former Dean James Ham, and retired Campus Police Sgt. Cox. The Cannon is protected by a trained Cannon Guard, led by the Chief Attiliator whose identity remains a secret until his unveiling each year at Gradball. The Skule™ Cannon is often accompanied by the Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad, which usually plays and sings Godiva's Hymn before the firing of the Cannon. Public firing of the Cannon is usually followed by the Skule Yell.