UC San Diego Hosts 52nd Annual Watermelon Drop

Each year, a “Watermelon Royalty” races up seven stories of Urey Hall and hurls the watermelon to the ground

It's the event that kicks off those end-of-the-school-year feels.

Hundreds of spectators gathered around Urey Hall at the University of California, San Diego to take part in the annual Watermelon Drop. The event kicked off at noon on Friday with a performance from the UC San Diego Pep Band.

UC San Diego has held the Watermelon Drop for the last 52 years. Each year, an honoree, known as “Watermelon Royalty”, races up seven stories of Urey Hall to send a watermelon plunging towards the concrete.

This year’s Watermelon Royalty was Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Revelle College, Liora Kian Gutierrez (UC San Diego Class of ’84). Gutierrez will be retiring at the end of June, after serving the campus for 35 years, according to the university.

Friday's splat was measured at 103-feet and 3-inches, the university said.

The goal of the drop is to break the 1974 splat record of 167-feet and 4-inches. The first watermelon splat from Urey Hall measured 91 feet.

The end of the school year tradition started back in 1965, when Revelle freshmen took a physics class with Professor Bob Swanson.

On a final exam, Swanson asked, “if a watermelon was dropped from a 7-story building, where would the farthest piece land?” He also asked students to solve what the watermelon's velocity would be on impact to the ground, according to UC San Diego.

Members of the class then arranged the first-ever Watermelon Drop from the top of Urey Hall.

Swanson then asked students at the end of the final to pick a "Watermelon Queen" who would throw the watermelon off Urey Hall.

The first ever Watermelon Queen to hurl the fruit to the ground was Elizabeth Huller. The title Watermelon Queen has been changed to Watermelon Royalty over the years.

According to UC San Diego, the terminal velocity of a watermelon when it hits the ground is 112 miles per hour.

Following the 2017 Watermelon Drop, Revelle College offered attendees treats, including cake and plenty of watermelon.

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