Mount Saint Mary’s University recently unveiled a new design of the Athena mascot to campus during several events kicking off the start of the academic year.
The new-look of the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, strength and justice embodies the spirit of the University. The owl was her wise companion and she is often associated with the olive tree, a symbol of hundreds of years of dedication and reverence.
“The new Athena design has a more modern look that shows the University’s pride and the unstoppable spirit of the Mount community,” said Linda McMurdock, PhD, vice president of student affairs at Mount Saint Mary’s University.
Athena officially became the University’s mascot in 1990, when the Mount started promoting competitive sports. Mount students are called Athenians in her honor and the name is an important part of the University’s identity.
A look at the University’s archives reveals that for decades there was no actual mascot and 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, however, there was a genuine cute and fuzzy mascot: a goat.
"Calling Mount students 'Mounties' made sense because of the rugged terrain around Chalon," said Victoria McCargar, archivist and special collections librarian at MSMU. "When you think about it, the little Mountie Goat was an obvious choice of mascot for those intrepid women made the steep 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."