Languages: English
My Account

Call Toll Free in the US: 1-800-419-4601
Outside the US: 1-212-766-3920

University Language Services

5 Weird College Mascots

weird college mascots

Photo taken by Nicole Hensley

If you rarely pay attention to the college mascot at your school, maybe it’s just not weird enough!

Some colleges have mascots you can’t ignore, and you might wonder why the school chose something so unusual.

Check out some examples of downright weird college mascots and the history of each one.

1. Stanford University Tree

Weird college mascots like this one don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of rival sports teams. But somehow, they are loved by students all the same.

In this case, the students at the Standford University love their…Tree. The Tree represents El Palo Alto, the tree that appears on Stanford’s official seal. Just know that the Tree is officially the marching band’s mascot; the sports teams do not technically have one.

2. Georgetown Hoyas

This weird mascot is a little confusing. The term “Hoya” came about in the late 19th century, when students at Georgetown University would chant “Hoya Saxa” at sports games. It’s a mixture of Greek and Latin, and it means “What Rocks,” possibly in reference to the nickname “Stonewall” given to the sports teams at the time.

However, the actual mascot is currently Jack the Bulldog. Another odd fact about this college is that different dog breeds have been used as the mascot over time.

3. St. Louis University Billikens

If you’ve never heard of a Billiken, you’re not alone! It is actually a make-believe creature that has been around since 1908, when an art teacher had a dream starring the elf-like being. Its mischievous grin and status as a good luck charm made it popular enough to warrant dolls and statues to be made in its likeness.

Almost as soon as the Billiken’s popularity started to wane, a Saint Louis University law student/football coach named John Bender was told his wide smile made him resemble a Billiken. A sportswriter heard the comment and started using the term to refer to the school’s sports teams, and the rest is history!

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

Some crazy college traditions and weird mascots just don’t make sense until you know the history, and this is one of them. In 1896, the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College was about to change its name to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and it needed a new cheer along with it.

The school held a contest for the new cheer, and the first line of the winning entry was “Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy!” At the time, the sports teams at this college were referred to as the Gobblers, which were essentially turkeys. In the 1980s, a new coach changed the mascot to the HokieBird, which looks more like a cardinal than a turkey.

5. Syracuse University’s Otto the Orange

This weird college mascot is just orange, as in the color (not the fruit, as it is often wrongfully described).

Otto — so-named by the school’s cheerleaders — became the official Syracuse mascot in 1995, though it had unofficially been so since 1980. The furry orange blob with arms, legs and a face was the final replacement after students had protested the previous mascot, the Saltine Warrior, due to its offensiveness to Native Americans.

Every student body probably thinks they have the best college mascot — loving your mascot unconditionally is a key part of school pride, no matter how weird it is. What’s your school’s college mascot?

Leave a Reply

Academic Document Translation

Follow Us:

RSS Feed Icon Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Google+ Follow Us on Pinterest