“I am True Blue” began at MTSU as an affirmation of the best ideals shared by the Blue Raider community. It signals our values, our commitment to student success and our devotion to the institution. It also calls upon all of us – students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration alike – to be valuable contributors to the progress and success of our University.
It was introduced in August 2011 when it was read aloud by our incoming freshman we welcomed at convocation. It is the first line of the True Blue Pledge, which spells out our four core values: honesty and integrity; respect for diversity; engagement in the community; and a commitment to reason, not violence. The pledge, as well as the other work by the President’s Task Force on Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution, came as an outpouring of grief and resolve from the tragic death of Lady Raiders basketball player Tina Stewart.
True Blue has been in use for centuries. We have used it from time to time, as have other colleges, professional sports teams and others sharing blue as a signature color. Its roots go back to the Middle Ages, so in that sense, the phrase is perhaps is owned by no one – or perhaps everyone. I would like to think that with its core definition of loyalty and faithfulness, it takes on the characteristics of the entity putting it forward.
We were overwhelmed by the response that True Blue has received on campus since its debut. Our Student Government Association adopted it as its official motto and redesigned its seal to emphasize True Blue. The pledge was incorporated into numerous student and civic events as a reflection of school pride and values. Students produced videos on what it means to be True Blue as class projects. Omicron Delta Kappa planned a True Blue Leadership Day as its core activity for the year. Athletics singled out its top players with its first True Blue Leadership Awards.
True Blue was not intended to be a marketing slogan – and perhaps that is why it has connected with some more deeply than just a catch phrase. It sprang from a tragedy and now stands for the very best of what we expect from one another.