A black and white photo of a husky on the sidelines of one of our athletic fields with a University of Southern Maine banner draped over its back. In the background, a line of people can be seen.

Husky history

According to University legend, our mascot was inspired by a Gorham fan who would bring his husky to athletics games. As USM grew and evolved, both the legend and the proud husky mascot have endured.

An husky sits tall near some snow-covered trees. The dog has heterochromia; one blue eye and one gold eye.

The heart of a husky

Champ the Husky embodies the spirit of the University of Southern Maine and is celebrated at sports events, campus gatherings, or whenever members of our husky pack get together.

Welcome to the husky pack

Energetic, persistent, hard working, resilient… we breed a special kind of student here at the University of Southern Maine (USM) — a lot like our beloved husky mascot. Inside the heart of a husky is a champion of community spirit and school pride. Known for their friendly, enthusiastic personalities, USM Huskies (both human and canine) are strong leaders who work hard and play hard. It’s always good to have a Husky on your side.

The story of our mascot and team name follows the evolution of the University itself. The first University building, Corthell Hall, was dedicated in 1878, establishing what became Gorham State Teachers College. According to the College’s first yearbook, published in 1949, fans cheered on the Hilltoppers, a name that prevailed until the head of the cheerleading squad held a student election to rename the mascot.

In 1967, the Hilltoppers became the Huskies. Until 2010, however, our husky mascot was nameless. That changed when students, in a competition sponsored by the Athletics Department, chose the name Champ.

Husky traditions

Husky Fest

Established in 2001, this fall semester kick-off party is part of Welcome Week and includes events and activities for students on the Portland and Gorham campuses.

It follows a tradition that began in 1968 on the campus of Gorham State Teachers College known as Husky Huzzah. The events were preparations for winter carnivals during which a “mayor” and “queen” were elected.

The Husky Hall of Fame

Established in 1985 to honor the athletes and coaches of the past.

It recognizes the accomplishments of the graduates and staff of the University of Southern Maine and our predecessor institutions.