Football or Physics?

By Handorf, William C. | Academe, May/June 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Football or Physics?

Handorf, William C., Academe

U.S. commemorative stamps sometimes feature aspects of university life-guess which aspect appears on most stamps.

United States commemorative stamps have illustrated individuals such as Marilyn Monroe (1995); characters such as Bugs Bunny (1997); American motorcycles (2006); and Valentine candy hearts (2004). Higher education research, teaching, and service, however, have received short shrift from the U.S. Postal Service, except, of course, when it comes to football.

The U.S. Post Office first issued commemorative stamps in 1893, when a series celebrating the World's Columbian Exposition (also called the Chicago World's Fair) depicted the trip to America by Christopher Columbus. The U.S. Postal Service, which succeeded the U.S. Post Office in 1971, today issues about fifty to seventy-five new commemorative designs each year. Commemorative stamps are printed in limited quantities and sold to the public for several months.

U.S. stamps recognize presidents, prominent Americans, anniversaries of historical events, wars, military heroes, sports, champion athletes, and many other topics, such as clouds, flowers, flags, cars, planes, actors, and artists. Approximately 2,500 commemoratives have been released in the past seven decades.


As I said, the aspect of U.S. higher education most often commemorated in stamps is athletics, especially football.

The red and green Intercollegiate Football stamp issued in 1969 depicts a football player and coach. The 6-cent stamp recognizes the hundredth anniversary of the first collegiate football game, in which the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) played Rutgers in 1869.

The dark brown Jim 'flmrpe stamp, issued in 1984 at 20 cents each, depicts the legendary football and track-and-field star wearing a football uniform.

The multicolored Knute Rockne stamp, issued in 1988 and at 22 cents each, features the famed Notre Dame coach on the field with a football. The 32-cent Four Horseman of Notre Dame photolike stamp, released in 1998 as part of a "celebrate the century" series, depicts the four backfield stare of the undefeated 1924 Notre Dame team.

A World University Games multicolor stamp, issued in 1993 and at 29 cents each, features the legs of five runners competing in the games when they were hosted in Buffalo, New York. To be eligible, athletes must be U.S. citizens and be working toward an accredited university degree or recently graduated from an accredited institution.

The 32-cent Bear Bryant multicolor stamp, issued within a "coaching legends" series in 1997, depicts the University of Alabama coach wearing his classic hound's tooth fedora near three players on the sidelines. A Pop Warner multicolor stamp within the same series depicts the legendary college coach with a player from an early period of football.

The multicolor "early football heroes" series, released in 2003 at 37 cents each, depicts four legends: Bronko Nagurski (the University of Minnesota), Ernie Nevers (Stanford University), Walter Camp (Yale College, now Yale University), and Red Grange (the "Galloping Ghost" of the University of Illinois).

Other College Themes

Stamps that recognize the importance of other aspects of colleges and universities in the life of America include the following.

The First of the Land Grant Colleges, a green stamp issued in 1955 at 3 cents each, features a book linking Pennsylvania State University and Michigan State College (now Michigan State University). The stamp recognizes the hundredth anniversary of each institution's establishment as a school to promote the study of agriculture in the United States.

The blue-green and black Higher Education stamp, issued in 1962 at 4 cents each, depicts a map of the United States illuminated by an oil lamp providing light by which to read. The stamp recognizes the mission of higher education to support the country's cultural and industrial growth and celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the law creating land-grant colleges and universities.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Football or Physics?


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?