Still Cheering

1955-1967 UT Cheerleaders Reunite at the Alumni Center

Ask Bill Melton how cheerleading has changed, and he gets nostalgic. Not that he has anything against the high-powered sport it is today—he just likes to point out that cheerleaders used to spend a lot more time, well, leading cheers.

“It was our job to get 40,000 students on their feet,” says Melton, BA ’64, Life Member. “We had a whole P.A. system just for the head cheerleader to use, and we really got people going. If you listened on the radio while we spelled out T-E-X-A-S, you could hear the crowd shouting every letter.”

Melton and about 30 of his fellow Texas cheer alumni gathered last Friday night in the Texas Exes Legends Room for the 1955-67 Cheerleader Reunion.

The high-wattage speaker list included Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, LLB ’67, BA ’92, Distinguished Alumna (and a former cheerleader herself); Hook ’em Horns sign co-creator Harley Clark, BA ’57, MA ’60, LLB ’62; former Longhorn Band director Vince DiNino; UT Athletics director DeLoss Dodds; Longhorn football legend David McWilliams, BA ’64; and Texas Exes CEO Leslie Cedar, BS ’89, MBA ’98, all Life Members.

After a lively dinner and speeches—including a recitation of the always-beloved Hook ’em Horns origin story by Harley Clark—the former cheerleaders presented a Longhorn painting (by none other than former cheerleader Bob Lowe, BA ’64) to the Texas Exes.

Then, as the former cheerleaders posed for a group portrait on the stairs, they broke out into cheers. “Give me a T!” shouted Mary Gayle Weber, BA ’64, Life Member, to a resounding reply: “T!” “Give me an E!” “E!” and so on.

“We’re all still cheering for the Longhorns, one way or another,” Melton says.

The 1955-67 Cheerleader Reunion Committee. From left: Bill Melton, Jan Thomsen Furr-Ray, David Northington, Covey Nash, and Bob Lowe. Photo courtesy Bob Lowe.

Inset photo: Four members of the 1959-60 cheerleading squad. Clockwise from top left: Nash, Melton, Mary Gayle Weber, and Melaney Jean McAfee. Photo from the Cactus yearbook.


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