TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Rosie the Elephant mascot at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology faded from official athletics logos some years ago, but the institute is bringing her back on a newly unveiled design that depicts the pachyderm with a determined glint in her eye.
The new athletics mark signals Rose-Hulman’s commitment to Rosie and helps bring a fresh look to the Rose-Hulman athletics department. It follows the trend of many NCAA Division I, II, and III schools, along with NAIA institutions, in creating separate institutional and athletics marks.
“Yes, Rosie is back,” said Kevin Lanke, assistant athletic director for communications. “Our goal is to create consistent Rose-Hulman athletic branding and messaging through two primary marks: the institutional logo and the new Rosie athletics logo we’re releasing today.”
Lanke pointed out that the new contemporary elephant logo includes the trunk pointing upward to signify good luck. And then there’s the steely eye, a signal that Rosie and her Fightin’ Engineers mean business.
The costumed mascot attends nearly every Rose-Hulman athletic football and basketball game, and got a wardrobe refresh last year. She debuted her current attire at Rose-Hulman’s 74-68 triple-overtime football victory over Illinois College in September 2014.
Elephants are renowned for their long memories, but, unfortunately, the precise origin of how the large pachyderm became Rose-Hulman’s mascot seems long forgotten.
For more than a century, the elephant has symbolized the determination, strength and courage of Rose-Hulman athletics. Early in the 20th century, the institute’s students occasionally searched the countryside around their school, then located near downtown Terre Haute, for useful elephant images. In one memorable case in 1902, recorded by an Indianapolis newspaper, two Rose Polytechnic students were arrested in connection with the theft of an elephant sign they later used as a scoreboard on campus.
The large image of an elephant made another memorable appearance at a 1911 baseball game between Rose-Hulman and Indiana State Normal School (now Indiana State University). “Stick to the elephant” was the reported cry after the game as “Tech” fans and players found themselves in a scuffle with disappointed “Normalites,” according to one account.
The elephant mascot, eventually nicknamed “Rosie,” continued to represent Rose-Hulman after the school’s campus moved east of Terre Haute in the 1920s. Since then, Rosie has remained an evolving and important symbol for Rose-Hulman’s Fightin’ Engineers.