The Heart of a Husky
Energetic, persistent, hard working, resilient…we breed a special kind of student here at 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. Welcome to the USM Husky Pack!
The story of USM’s 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. Legend has it that the idea for the name and mascot came from a Gorham fan who would bring his Husky to the games. As the University of Southern Maine evolved and was officially named in 1978, both the legend and the proud Husky mascot have endured.
Champ: Our Husky Gets A Name
Until 2010, however, our Husky was nameless. That changed when students, in a competition sponsored by the Athletics Department, chose the name Champ. Today, Champ the Husky embodies the spirit of USM and is celebrated at sports events, campus gatherings or whenever members of the Husky Pack get together. Husky traditions include:
- 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.
- Husky Pride Day. Every Friday, USM students, faculty and administrators break out their Husky gear, wear their blue and gold, and show their school pride.
- The Husky Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was 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.