Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy National Orange Day!

©Syracuse University

Today is Syracuse University's 139th birthday, otherwise known as National Orange Day. To commemorate the day, alumni and supporters give back to the community. I'm taking a load of clothes to the Salvation Army! And feel free to wear orange to show your support!!

I am a proud Syracuse University alumna. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with a major in illustration, from Syracuse.

Did you know that Syracuse University was the first school to grant a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the United States? That was back in 1874!


ChatRabbit said...

What I really want to know is: that orange guy an actual orange?
Because citrus doesn't really grow well in Syracuse!

Mary Beth Cryan said...

Yes, indeed he is a real orange. Here's a semi short version of how "Otto" the orange came to be the Syracuse Mascot.

Syracuse University was founded in 1870. The colors were pink and pea green.

In 1890 Orange becomes the University's official color after a search of Baird's College Manual reveals that no other American university has adopted orange alone as a school color. SU's original colors, rose pink and pea green, were not particularly popular.

In 1931, the Syracuse University (SU) newspaper ran a hoax that the remains of a Saltine Warrior named Big Chief Bill Orange was found under the new woman's gymnasium.

In 1951, the senior class commissioned a statue to commemorate the Warrior and the hoax.

In the mid 1950's someone made a costume and he became the mascot that ran around at sporting events.

In 1978 they decided the mascot was offensive. However, the color orange stayed the schools color.

Many mascots came and went including Egnaro the Troll, a Superman-like figure, and a man in an orange tuxedo. In 1980 an SU cheerleader crafted the first costume of the orange citrus fruit. He was known as "The Orange" until 1990 when he was named Otto.

In 1995, Chancellor Shaw (Buzz as we called him) appointed a committee to find an official school mascot. They narrowed it down to a wolf, a lion, or the unofficial mascot Otto. I was at Syacuse at this time and we the students were outraged that Otto might be replaced. We made signs that said "Save Otto" and hung them in our dorm windows. The campaign by the students convinced Buzz to make Otto the OFFICIAL mascot of SU in 1995!!! In 1997 they had a community vote on the official 2D illustration of Otto. We had a choice between the cute and cuddly Otto and a scary mean looking citrus fruit. The cute and cuddly won! I voted for cute and cuddly. I like to think I did my part in saving Otto!!