Steve Dallas: an arrogant, obnoxious fraternity member preoccupied with the pursuit of sex. He became an icon in many circles at the University of Texas, which was not Breathed's intent.
Kitzi: Steve's girlfriend. She often finds ways to bend Steve to her will, a fact not always clear to Steve.
Rabies: Steve's reluctant canine friend.
Saigon John: a wheelchair-using Vietnam War veteran who frequently attends protest marches. He does not often see "eye to eye" with the conservative Steve.
Val Blain: Kitzi's lovelorn best friend.
Two of the characters from The Academia Waltz would be resurrected for Breathed's next strip, Bloom County: Steve Dallas and Saigon John (renamed "Cutter John"). Rabies also became a character early on in the strip, but disappeared around the time that Opus the Penguin (who would later become Breathed's most popular character) appeared; Breathed cites one reason for Rabies being "retired" is that there was "no shortage of cartoon dogs".
Kitzi later made a guest appearance in Bloom County in 1985, although the character had been altered to be Steve's younger sister rather than his girlfriend (jailed for protesting Apartheid, even though their sorority doesn't even admit blacks).