When you’ve been around as long as we have — which is now more than 120 years — you’re going to have some pretty cool and longstanding traditions. At Henderson, that’s an understatement.

Throughout each year you’ll find plenty of exciting and buzz-worthy traditions taking place all over campus. This is just one more way that our Reddie Spirit gets into you … and you get into it.

Battle of the Ravine

This is the biggest week of the year. Our annual football game with “the school across the street” serves not only as a serious source of pride, but it’s a week’s worth of fun and the occasional hijinks that result in memories that last a lifetime.

Bench 13

Many stone benches, which classes, organizations and other entities have donated throughout the institution’s history, sit on Henderson’s historic South Lawn. Perhaps the most famous is Bench 13. The bench is in memorial to the former sponsor of the Heart and Key organization. It is told that when a girl is asked to marry someone while she is sitting on the bench she won't say no.

Miss HSU

Who doesn't’t like a little glitz now and then? We do. Henderson’s Miss HSU Pageant has been a proud annual event since 1960, showcasing some of the brightest, smartest, and most motivated students Henderson has to offer. The pageant qualifies as an official preliminary to the Miss Arkansas pageant.


Homecoming at Henderson is a week’s worth of fun that would be hard for anyone to match. We’re talking barbecues, football, volleyball, tailgating, bonfires, brunches, golf, concerts, reunion events, and, of course, the presentation of the homecoming court and the crowning of the queen.

Reddie to Serve

Faculty, staff and students are "Reddie to Serve" the community by helping citizens clean up and improve their properties.

School with a Heart

Generations of Henderson alumni affectionately call their alma mater "The School with a Heart." Many believe the origin of the nickname dates from the morning of the Great Fire Feb. 3, 1914, that destroyed the college. The students gathered under the pines and pledged their allegiance to "the school with a heart." Many say that was the night the Reddie Spirit was born. Some believe that the ashes and wreckage of the old building buried at the foot of the pine trees is where "the Heart of Henderson" lies and that if a fortunate couple should discover the 'Heart" they will have eternal happiness. "The School with a Heart" is a fitting nickname for a university with a definite interest and love for its students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Freshmen students gather each year on the lawn in the shape of a heart for the traditional photograph - to celebrate the School with a Heart. 

Showband of Arkansas

Any time Henderson State’s famed Showband takes action, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to sit back and listen up. After all, they aren’t called the “Showband of Arkansas” for nothing. Recognized as one of the best marching bands in the nation, this group of accomplished musicians represent one of our best traditions.

That Old Reddie Spirit

The official fight song of Henderson State University, "That Ole Reddie Spirit," was introduced in 1923 by cheerleader Anna Lee Chidester and is affectionately known as The Reddie Hymn. This song is sung to the tune of “That Old Time Religion.” Originally the song was used because of a lack of school spirit being shown at football games. At the time, cheerleaders were positioned throughout the bleachers to lead the fans in the song.