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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

The Bulldog’s Tail: Earning its pedigree since 1933

A history of the University of Minnesota Duluth mascot

Using the Archives during COVID-19

The UMD Archives is currently closed, but we can answer questions by email and phone, and provide a limited number of scans of requested research materials. Please let us know if you are a current UMD student, staff, or faculty member who needs archival materials for a class or work related project as we will prioritize those requests. 

During June 2021, the UMD Archives will be unable to respond to most research requests because the staff will be focusing on a collections maintenance project. We are sorry for the inconvenience to researchers and look forward to working with you again soon. 

Questions? Contact us at libarchives@d.umn.edu or 218-726-8526.

Please contribute to the Northeastern Minnesota COVID-19 Community Archive Project.

Semper Victorious (Vicky)

An American bulldog named Semper Victorious (Vicky) was UMD’s first named mascot. She made appearances at Homecoming and sporting events. The UMD Student Association paid for Vicky’s food and other expenses as she was shuffled between several owners, including the Beta Phi Kappa fraternity. Mr. and Mrs. Lynd Hammel finally purchased Vicky as a present for their daughter Susie in 1965.

The Barkers’ Club (a school spirit organization) sponsored the contest to name the mascot in 1961, but it is unclear if Semper Victorious was the name selected in that contest or if the Beta Phi Kappa fraternity chose that name.

This newsprint ballot reads: "Barker's Club Bulldog-Naming Contest. The name I suggest for UMD's Bulldog mascot is" A space follows for the suggested name. There are also spaces for the student's Name, Telephone Number, and Class. The bottom of the ballot reads: "Deposit at Kirby Desk."

A contest entry form in the November 3, 1961, UMD Statesman.

Article headline reads "UMD's Mascot" and includes a photograph of a bulldog wearing a sweater vest and sitting on an ornate chair.

This article about Vicky appeared in the November 30, 1962 UMD Statesman.

A black-and-white cartoon bulldog facing the viewer and waving. The bulldog is standing upright and wearing a UMD hat and sweater. The word "Hi!" appears above the bulldog. A block of text welcoming new students to UMD is below the bulldog.

A cartoon Vicky greeted freshmen in Trailways, the new student handbook, from 1961 to 1967.

 

Other Early Bulldogs

Other live bulldogs have occasionally made appearances at campus functions.

Float in a parade. One man in a football uniform is standing near the center of the float with his fists raised. A live bulldog sits at his feet. Four women are also seated on the float.

A live bulldog rode on this 1951 parade float. Photo by Ken Moran.

A man and woman are seated in the front seat of a car. A young man is holding a live bulldog behind them. The man in the front seat is holding the bulldog's front paw. The caption reads: "Provost Raymond W. Darland and his wife look at UMD's mascot, held by Mike Hamilton."

Provost Raymond Darland and his wife admire a bulldog held by Mike Hamilton. This photo appeared in the November 2, 1967, UMD Statesman.

A young woman with short dark hair is seated holding a bulldog. The caption reads: "Peggy Haley, Homecoming Queen, talks to UMD mascot."

Homecoming Queen Peggy Haley bonds with a bulldog. This photo appeared in the 1968 Chronicle.

A bulldog, seated. Caption reads: "Watching the UMD women's basketball team was a pure English Bulldog. The dog's name is Winston and he belongs to Suzanne Peterson, a junior on the team."

Winston, an English Bulldog, watches a women’s basketball game. He belonged to team member Suzanne Peterson. Photo by Tina Sorckie; published in the February 4, 1988, UMD Statesman.

Killer

The mascot was called Killer by the 1990s, but some people thought that name was too violent. The Athletic Department sponsored a contest to rename the mascot. Students and faculty could enter to win a $25 gift certificate to any UMD store.

Newsprint advertisement with a black border. Advertisement reads: "The UMD Hockey Program is looking for a real "KILLER" to entertain at home games during the upcoming 1992-93 season. If you have the "KILLER" instinct to be a college mascot for a Division 1 hockey team, please contact Paula at 726-8168."

This ad appeared in the October 15, 1992, UMD Statesman.

Killer is standing on the left-hand side of frame wearing collar and bulldog t-shirt. Students are wearing sports jerseys and one is holding a football."

Physical Education Majors and Minors (PEMM) Club members on their Homecoming parade float. From left to right: Killer, Derek Cooper, Michael McCabe, Mike Radant (top), Patty Kneefe, and Steve Chapin. Photo by Amy Ackerman; published in the October 7, 1993, Statesman.

Cheerleaders are formally posed, with four women standing in the back, and four women and two men seated in the front. The two men in the center of the front row are holding mascot costume heads.

The Maroon Loon (Brian Haedrich) and Champ (Jamey Mills) pose with UMD cheerleaders circa 1997.

Out of the four people who submitted the name Champ, Brandon Michael was selected at random to win the gift card. The new name was announced at a UMD-Wisconsin hockey game on January 24, 1997. Despite backlash from some students over perceived political correctness gone amuck, the better name led to better visibility and an improved image for children. The name change came at a time when athletics at UMD were experiencing rebranding and a new website.

Bulldog Logos

Prior to the 1970s, the university lacked a consistent logo for athletics and other promotional materials. Bulldogs that appeared in the Statesman, the Chronicle, and other publications were generally custom drawings that were only seldom used again. UMD’s first official bulldog logo was introduced during the 1969-1970 school year. The new logo was a bulldog head that was often given a body for football, hockey, and basketball.

Black-and-white line drawing of bulldog mascot standing upright, holding football.Black-and-white line drawing of bulldog mascot standing upright, bouncing basketball.

Black-and-white drawing of bulldog mascot standing upright holding hockey stick.Cover of 1983-84 Winter Sports Schedule with red and gold cartoon bulldog.

These bulldogs appeared on season ticket advertisements in 1991. The forward-facing bulldog was popular from the mid-1970s to the early-1990s.

Drawing of bulldog head. Bulldog is yellow and is wearing a red collar with yellow spikes.

Jesse Bodell updated the bulldog logo to its current design in 1998.

Contact Us:

Email: libarchives@d.umn.edu

Phone: (218) 726-8526

Location: Kathryn A. Martin Library
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