Clayton State University Traditions
Lakers take care of one another. We build each other up, and we never stop rooting for success. Whether cheering at the Homecoming game or studying in a group near one of our six lakes, our most treasured traditions are about coming together.
Six Lovely Lakes, Two Friendly Lake Monsters
Since the late 1960s when construction first began on Clayton State, our six lovely lakes have been an integral part of the campus. Swan Lake is the central and largest one.
The lakes are peaceful places for our community to study, relax, and enjoy a beautiful Georgia day together. They’re also the perfect home for swans, ducks, and, of course, Loch and Nessie, our resident lake monsters and school mascots!
Use our campus map to see all six lakes!
Loch and Nessie
Decked out in Clayton State orange and blue, Loch is Clayton State University’s mascot and biggest fan. You can most often find him helping out at student activities and cheering on our sports teams at athletic events.
He’s been with us since the 1980s, when he went by Loch the Lucky Laker. In the 2000s, he decided it was time for a makeover—something better suited to Clayton State’s indomitable spirit and tenacity. He shortened his name to Loch and became the streamlined, orange-and-blue mascot you’ll see today, gracing Clayton State swag, revving up crowds, and giving high fives across campus.
But being such an important figure is a big job, even for our hardworking Loch. During Homecoming of 2016, Loch introduced his new friend Nessie to the Clayton State family. The two of them work together to build up and celebrate Laker spirit.
Our Resident Swans
A very special resident calls our peaceful, park-like campus home: Elizabeth the swan. You’ll find her gliding through the still waters of the lakes or strolling amongst the towering pines and walkways on campus.
Over the years, many swans have lived on campus, adding to the picturesque grace of our grounds. Our first pair, Rhett and Scarlet, were donated by Assistant Professor Barbara G. King in 1995. Since then, these beautiful birds have become a staple of the campus community.
See Elizabeth for yourself when you visit campus!
The Lucky Bent Tree Sculpture
Clayton State students who need some luck know where to go on campus—the Bent Tree sculpture near James M. Baker University Center. Legend has it all you have to do is touch it, and good luck will head your way!
What makes the sculpture so special? It pays respect to a beloved tree with a prominent bend in its trunk that once stood at the center of campus. When the tree had to be removed, a group of Clayton State community members named the Bent Tree Society commissioned a resin mold of the tree and had a memorial built.
Just like the original tree, the Bent Tree sculpture is treasured on campus—The Bent Tree is even the name of the student newspaper—and a shining symbol of Clayton State unity.
The University Center Mural
With our lakes and wooded, park-like campus, celebrating Georgia’s natural beauty has always been important at Clayton State. We are proud to continue that tradition with the exhibition of a sweeping, 648-square-foot mural of the Georgia countryside by acclaimed artist Athos Menaboni, in James M. Baker University Center.
The mural was originally painted for the Citizens and Southern National Bank in 1951 and was the second largest mural in Atlanta at the time after the Cyclorama. Moving from Italy to Atlanta in 1927, Menaboni became popular for his paintings showing the splendor of the outdoors. His work can be found in homes and business throughout the city.
By 2011, the bank building had become dilapidated, so the mural was removed. Now, it is on display at Clayton State, where our students, alumni, faculty, and staff can gather to share in Menaboni’s homage to Georgia’s breathtaking scenery.
A Day of Giving
Supporting dreams and shaping them into realities—that’s what our Day of Giving is all about. One day each year, we host our #Give4Dreams fundraising event, encouraging people to donate to Clayton State. Whether you choose to give to one of our in-need projects or another area of the university, your gift will help provide the resources and facilities necessary to make dreams real.
Find out which Clayton State programs previous Day of Giving donations have helped.
An Evening of Laker Madness
We celebrate every basketball season with Laker Madness. It’s a lot like Midnight Madness, except it’s bursting with Laker pride! Free and open to the public, thousands of fans turn out every year to meet our men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Players show off their skills in some friendly competition, such as the three-point contest, and some lucky people in the crowd have the chance to win a free shot for a cash prize. To top it all off, the Greeks and our Laker cheerleaders give on-your-feet performances all evening.
Get this year’s athletics rosters and schedules.
Every year, alumni, students, and parents come together for a weeklong celebration of Laker spirit and pride. We put on our Clayton State orange and blue, and spend the week with one another, attending shows, tailgating, and going to games and award ceremonies.
Originally called Fall Frolics, Homecoming at Clayton State has taken many forms over the years, hosting all kinds of events, from talent shows to parades to soccer matches. Today, we hold Homecoming in the spring, during basketball season.
Get this year’s homecoming event schedule.
Laker Alumni Weekend
Once a Laker, always a Laker—whether you graduated one year ago or 30. Laker Alumni Weekend is a time for our family of 23,000+ alumni to connect, reminisce, network, and celebrate one another’s success.
Parents and students are encouraged to attend as well. Speaking with our alumni is not only a great way to learn how Clayton State prepares students for the future but also an excellent chance to connect with potential mentors.
Learn how to get involved.
Spivey Hall Presents
A dream made real in and of itself, Spivey Hall is a testament to the power of giving and dedication. Our world-renowned performing arts venue was the project of prominent Atlanta citizens Emilie and Walter Spivey, who dreamt of bringing music from all over the world to Atlanta. They succeeded.
Spivey Hall opened its doors on the Clayton State campus in 1991 and now hosts a world-renowned concert series that features jazz and classical music artists. Musicians and music lovers alike come to enjoy its outstanding acoustics and stunning 4,413-pipe organ.
Songs That Stay With You
Alma Mater: “Walking in Love and Strength”
Our alma mater is inspired by the ceaseless spirit of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and the lifelong community you gain when you come here. It is written by our own Dr. Brigitte Byrd, with music by Dr. Richard Bell.
Alma Mater Audio
Learn the Lyrics:
Walking through your majestic pines, We embrace your simple splendor, Our hearts and spirits full of hope, Our minds wide open and ready. O our dear alma mater, You give us love and strength.
Walking by your beautiful lake, We find a new community Of people from all nations All joined as one in learning. O our dear alma mater, You give us love and strength.
Walking proudly among our peers, We wear your colors true. Now shaped and prepared by Clayton State, We are ready for our future. O our dear alma mater, You give us love and strength.
Walking through our unfolding lives, We take you on the path, Knowing that the years will change us And your standard will remain. O our dear alma mater, You give us love and strength.
Fight Song: “The Mighty Fighting Lakers”
Lakers are brave. They have a strong work ethic. They believe in their dreams and the dreams of their peers, and they fight to make them real. That’s what Laker spirit is all about.
Inspired by this, Stacy Houghton, the director of the Clayton State Jazz Combo, composed our fight song, “The Mighty Fighting Lakers.” We have played the song at home basketball games, singing our Laker pride to the rooftop!
Learn the Lyrics:
We are the mighty fighting Lakers Fighting for dear old Orange and Blue Faithful and brave, crashing like waves, Conquering with a healthy wealth of pride and spirit
We proudly stand for Clayton's glory Drowning our rivals in defeat We cheer, "Go, Clayton State! Fight, Clayton State, And we will not be beat!"
It's Loch the Laker, They can't escape his bite Our vic'try taker who wants a win tonight So we'll feed him a helping of Laker bait! [Repeat first two verses]
The Clayton State Time Capsule
In 2019, we’ll open the Clayton State time capsule and see how the University, and the world, has changed since the 1990s when the capsule was closed. Former president Dr. Richard Skinner proposed creating the time capsule in celebration of Clayton State’s 25th anniversary.
Currently housed in the University Archives in the library, the time capsule will be opened in celebration of the University’s 50th anniversary.