Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Our Mascot(s)

Happy Homecoming!

As we welcome back alumni and prepare to celebrate all things Seton Hill, you'll probably see Griff the Griffin out and about at the football game and the various other events (don't forget about the library booksale, by the way). But did you know that the Seton Hill mascot wasn't always a griffin?

We've had several mascots over the years!

First up is this snapshot from 1953. "Hermes" was a... well, they claim he was a tiger. The different classes competed against each other in the Women's Athletic Association in a sort of House Cup/intramurals fashion and the winning class got to keep him for the rest of the year.

Caption: "Hermes is ours!" Proudly Pat Brown and Peggy Garvis hug the A. A. mascot. "We won him in '50 and kept him through '53."

By 1957 (this clipping is from the January 24th Setonian), we have a new Hermes. He's managed to change his spots into stripes and is looking much more tigerly now. 

Caption: HERMES HOLDS THE SPOTLIGHT for sports minded Patricia Mullen, Mary Jo Onto, Marjorie Owens, and Mary Wilson.

TEXT: "Since last June when the Class of '56 absconded with the Women's Athletic Association's mascot, there has been no fuzzy little Hermes to stimulate class teams to heroic efforts in their mortal combats on land (basketball floor, hockey field, bowling alley) and sea (swimming pool).

"Admittedly, the Class of '56 had won Hermes four years in a row; admittedly, he, poor tired old tiger, was headed for dust bin or bonfire anyway. But his going left a vast hole in the hearts of those who had fought for him so hard, though unsuccessfully.

"At last a second Hermes has come to fill that hole! A saucy tiger cub he is-- who wears the stately name of the Greek god Hermes with a rakish air and reveals an unmistakable streak of insanity in his foolish, rubbery grin. He made his first appearance two weeks ago at the opening game of the basketball season, rolled his big green eyes, whisked his tail, and won the game for the seniors! Who knows what he might do this season?"

At some point in the next 30 years, the mascot underwent a complete species change. Here's another Setonian clipping for you (February 22, 1990). 

TEXT: "By Martina Owens. 

"There is a great mystery on campus. Just what is the Seton Hill mascot? When this reporter asked various students, the answers were varied.

"Sophomore Maria Poppa had no idea, while Dana Barauskas believes it is a bird of some kind.

"Sophomore Lisa Griner wanted to know if it is the 'stupid penguin!' 'We're not the SHC penguins,' said Greiner, 'do penguins have spirit?'

"Senior Mig [sic] Owens did not know either but another senior, Pam Wiseman, did, 'It's a penguin!'

"Freshman Kim Headlee gave a blank stare and asked, 'Do we have one? I didn't know Seton Hill had one.'

"Fellow freshman Holly Winterhalter decided that not only was it a bird, but it was a red bird. Then she decided it was a chickenhawk, 'just like the one on Bugs Bunny.'

"Freshman Tammy Wrzosek knew it was a penguin. She believes it has something to do with the nuns. (Nuns? Penguins? I get it.)

"Freshman Shelby Fletcher decided that since you could not see a Spirit the penguin is O.K., but she feels that it should somehow become more popular. 

"Well, I shall keep you in suspense no longer. Yes, ladies and gents, our mascot is indeed Opus the penguin!

"Our name, the Spirit, was chosen by Athletic Director, John Fogle in the early 1970's. (Yes, he has been here that long.)

"In 1983, Seton Hill joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Fogle chose the Opus with the Spirit flag to fulfill official emblem requirements by the NAIA.

"So the great mystery is solved. Opus is our mascot and our team name is spirit. Got it? Good."

You may still be able to find a few Opus/Spirit things hiding around campus. Over the summer, a couple of rubbery penguin mascot toys somehow found their way to the library office. Unfortunately, the material was starting to break down, but we had fun reviewing the mascot's evolution. 

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