Thursday, June 21, 2018

Before Athena, there was ... the goat

Circa 1950, the mountain goat served as MSMU's mascot. We have one
in the Archives thanks to Sister Rose Adrian Peukert, CSJ '54.
WELCOME ATHENIANS! A large sign on the proscenium in front of Mary Chapel today welcomes our incoming students to Chalon for Orientation and the start of Fall 2018 two months from now. (Yikes!)

In another era, the sign might have said, "Welcome Mountain Goats." All we can say is, thank goodness that mascot didn't stick!
1956: The collective name for Mount
teams and students alike was Mountie.
Colleges and universities with big sports programs usually have well-known mascots, like the Bruin or Tommy Trojan. For a very long time at the Mount, decades, there was no mascot.  The university (then a college) fielded plenty of competitive tennis teams, runners and swimmers, even equestrians, but Mount students collectively were known simply as "the Mounties," a name that stuck until the late 1960s.

For a few years in the early 1950s, there was a genuine cute and fuzzy mascot. One arrived in the archives in person the other day, a little stuffed animal of faded purple wool felt, with floppy ears and horns and MSMC appliqu├ęd in orangey-gold on both sides.

The mascot was donated to us by Sister Rose Adrian Peukert, CSJ, '54.  She was a Mountie herself for three years until entering the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1951. With that time frame, we consulted our yearbooks and newspapers to see if there were any mentions of stuffed goats.

Our friendly Mountie Goat inspects an art
book in the Porch at Chalon library.
According to the 1950 and 1951 yearbooks, the Women's Recreation Assn., a campus athletic club, was responsible for selling athletic gear in the bookstore. The yearbooks mention the "W.R.A. store -- goats, sweatshirts, tennis balls..."  That must be our mascot.

When you think about it, the Mountie Goat was an obvious choice of mascot for the intrepid women who had to make the climb from the bus stop on Sunset Boulevard to the college, back in the days when regular shuttles didn't exist and few students had their own cars.

Beyond the 1950s, the little Mountie Goat didn’t catch on. Once the Doheny Campus became part of the MSMU in 1962, the mountain-oriented mascot didn't work for everyone. In the 1980s, when the Mount started promoting competitive sports, Athena was finally adopted as mascot. The Greek embodiment of bold, intelligent woman truly captured the spirit of the school.

On the other hand, mountain goats are known to have that special grit we call {Unstoppable}, and this little critter is pretty cute. Think about mountain goats and our Mountie Goat next time you have to hike from Chalon Road up to the Circle.