Memory Cards

In the upcoming October issue of Iowa Alumni Magazine, a reader reminisces about an almost-forgotten aspect of Hawkeye football history—the card section.

As Rick Johnsten recalls from his time at the UI in the 1950s, a section of the crowd at football games used colored flip cards with numbers, letters, or symbols to spell out enormous messages like “Go, Hawks!” “We raised and lowered the cards on a certain count according to instructions from a cheerleader using a megaphone,” Rick says.

This was news to magazine staffers, who’d never heard of this tradition. It isn’t mentioned in official histories of the UI, although we did find a story and even a photo in an old yearbook.

Do you remember the card section? If so, please send details to

Tina Owen

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