April 3, 2017

On October 24, 2016, Amherst College launched a process to select an official mascot. After 2,046 suggestions and 9,295 votes, we are the Amherst College Mammoths. You thought they were extinct? Think again. (Images courtesy of Amherst’s Beneski Museum of Natural History.)

Amherst College is proud to announce today that the Mammoths are the first official mascot.

The Mammoths were selected as the favorite from among five finalists by a vote of Amherst alumni, students, faculty and staff. Some 9,295 people participated in the voting process—among those, 7,359 alumni and 1,368 students—which took place from March 20 to 31. The results were then ratified by three alumni Inspectors of Election, who also oversee the Alumni Trustee Election. 

During the initial submission process, community members identified the mammoths as an “impressive,” “stupendous and monumental” and “near mythic” option that would “speak to Amherst as fierce competitors.” They noted that mammoths were not only imposing, but “also highly social, herbivorous animals suggesting gentleness” with tusks that lent themselves to an appealing logo.

“They are delightfully appropriate for competitive teams,” noted one entry. “I could easily see Amherst with a purple mammoth mascot.”

Submissions also observed that the mammoths pay homage to Amherst College history. The Beneski Museum of Natural History houses a skeleton of a Columbian mammoth discovered by Amherst professor Frederick Brewster Loomis and brought to the College in 1925. Amherst’s archives also include a drawing of a mammoth skeleton by scientific illustrator Orra White Hitchcock, wife of Amherst’s third president, Edward Hitchcock.

The results come at the end of a selection process that began in January 2016 when the Board of Trustees issued a statement that Lord Jeffery Amherst, then the school’s unofficial mascot, would no longer be used in any capacity by the College.

A mascot committee—with representation from alumni, students, faculty and staff—was assembled and charged with developing a method and timeline to select the first official mascot. They adopted four guiding principles to ensure the process focused on transparency, building community, maximizing participation and creating connections among students and alumni.

In fall 2016, the wider College community contributed 2,045 mascot suggestions. In December, the Mascot Committee chose 30 semifinalists that best met the five-pronged criteria of being unifying, representing positive qualities, being broadly relevant and representative, working well for both male and female sports teams and having an ability to translate visually.

Read the full mascot process FAQs. 

In February 2017, the Mascot Committee used input from 441 student and alumni delegates— who rated the semifinalists according to the criteria and alumni feedback—to identify the top five mascot ideas.

In their note at the end of the process, the committee thanked the community for “the rich and plentiful contribution of mascot ideas, and for the enthusiastic voter participation.”

“Affection for Amherst and belief in what our College represents motivated our committee during this entire process,” they wrote, “and we welcome the mammoths as the new mascot for Amherst College.”