Meaning Behind the Mascot: Howard University

In 1867, Howard University was a small campus with a bright future ahead. Over the last century and a half, HU has been dedicated to providing an exceptional education for students seeking various levels of degrees in a wide array of concentrations. Since being founded, the university has awarded over 100,000 degrees and currently ranks as one of the highest producers of black professionals that are succeeding in their chosen fields across the country and beyond.

While the campus is no longer the single frame college that it started as, the mission of Howard University has not changed. Black educational excellence, being a catalyst for social change, and molding students to excel in their chosen professional career paths are the values that have permeated throughout the years and the execution of these values is what makes Howard University unlike any other HBCU.

With a rich history of educational excellence, the Bison and Lady Bison are perfect mascots to represent the university and the HU sports teams. Go to any football, baseball, or basketball game and you will likely see the Bison mascot or, if you are at a women’s sporting event, the Lady Bison. The cheerful, strong mascots were created in 1920. While there isn’t much as way of history of the mascots, the two Bisons were created around the time of the opening of the Howard University Stadium in 1926. Since then, the Bison and Lady Bison have been representing the HU sports team and university.

Mascots have long been considered simply a representation of sports teams. The mighty HU Bison, however, is much more than that. The bison that lives in the wild, often times confused with the buffalo, is seen as a large but serene animal. It has a quiet force that can be seen long before it is felt. Bisons represent strength, stamina, agility, and perseverance which are qualities that many of the HU alumni posses. While the history of the HU Bison and Lady Bison is a bit foggy at best, it goes without saying that the animal itself perfectly represents what it means to be an alumni of the prestigious Howard University.

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