The Importance of the Campus Mascot

Hi, my name is Sadie Denker and I am going to tell you a story.

I was lucky enough to have grown up on college campuses, my dad has always worked in higher education advancement for as long as I can remember! From football to hockey, my siblings and I became the number one fans of the school my dad was currently working with.

Throughout this time however, one thing remained the same–I was always taking photos in front of campus icons, primarily statues.

Photo taken at the Boise State University Spring Football Game; 2006

When you think of college campuses; you probably think of football, academic reputation, and poor dining hall food. One thing that is very important to this entire story is that when my dad thought of college campuses, he thought of the mascot. He truly believes that campus mascots bring together a campus in school spirit.

So after seven years of working for the University of Nebraska – Omaha; Lee decided to start a project. He began the process of bringing a mascot statue to Omaha. After many months picking an artist, making phone calls, and partaking in planning meetings; he took a flight to Alpine, Utah to meet his passion project.

Then came the ever so exciting trip back to Nebraska. Although Lee had a flight scheduled back to Omaha- when presented the opportunity to drive with the artist and her husband; he couldn’t pass it up! He canceled his flight and drove across state lines with the Maverick Monument strapped to a trailer behind him.

The statue made it to Omaha, Neb., a day before scheduled to be placed on campus; and Lee just wasn’t going to take any chances of his project being damaged. The statue actually sat outside of our family home overnight prior to installation! The local police were even called to do a few drivebys throughout the night to ensure there were no issues!

I was one of the first people to take a picture with the statue – still strapped into the trailer and all!

Since the installation in 2014, the Maverick Monument has become a staple piece on campus. Student’s rub the nose for good luck, recent graduates take commencement photos with it and it has become a stopping point on every prospective student tour. They even installed an exact replica of the statues head at our athletic arena!

 

Picture by Lee Denker

 

With my brother and cousins after a hockey game.

Being a leadership consultant for Sigma Kappa has been a dream come true and has allowed me to see so many chapters across beautiful campuses. I have been able to meet and take pictures with so many mascot statues too! What started as a photo sent to my dad at every school has turned into my favorite part of every visit.

I have found it to be true that every campus has a story, and in every story, the spirit comes from the mascot. Thank you to all the chapters I have visited so far who have allowed me to get to know your campus traditions and culture. To the schools I have yet to see, I am so excited to meet you (and your mascot statue)!

Here are a few notable mascots from my visits so far.

 

The Lion–Albright College, Theta Theta Chapter

 

The Bear–Lenior-Rhyne University, Epsilon Alpha Chapter

 

The Tide–University of Alabama, Alpha Omega Chapter

 

The Wildcat–Culver Stockton College, Beta Mu Chapter

 

 

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