Bench inscription tells story behind
Rock Chalk chant
Anna Gregory, Topeka senior, relaxes on a new bench outside
Bailey Hall. The bench was donated by Carolyn Bailey Berneking, a Spencer
Research librarian and granddaughter of E.H.S. Bailey. Aaron Paden/University
A new bench outside Bailey Hall may set to rest what has been one of the
great mysteries for loyal Jayhawks: Where did that Rock Chalk chant come
been so many fables and folk tales,” said Carolyn Bailey Berneking,
a librarian at the Spencer Research Library and granddaughter of E.H.S.
Bailey, for whom Bailey Hall is named. Berneking donated the bench and
the plaque beside it. “I just wanted the public and especially the
students to know the real story behind the Rock Chalk chant.”
E.H.S. Bailey, who served as either chair of the chemistry department
or a part-time professor from 1883 to 1933, wrote the cheer, according
to his account in the 1917 Jayhawker, “When the Rock Chalk Came
“One morning, the science club needed a yell, and he just wrote
one out,” Berneking said.
The original chant that Bailey wrote was “Rah! Rah! Jayhawk, K-U,”
repeated three times. The staccato “Rah! Rah!” was changed
to “Rock Chalk” a few years later, though reports are less
clear on who made the change.
“Some say that he did it; some say that it was an English professor,”
The mystery of the chant’s origins, however, was very easily cleared
“It’s all up there in the Spencer Research Library,”