Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy 30th Birthday, Truman!

In celebration of Truman the Tiger's 30th birthday this September, there is an exhibit honoring Mizzou's mascot in the Traditions Lounge on the second floor of the Student Center. 

Truman's 30th Birthday Exhibit located in the Traditions Lounge at the MU Student Center
 Truman the Tiger, the furry, tail-swinging tiger, has served as the mascot for the University of Missouri since 1986.  Before Truman, Mizzou's mascot was a pair of tigers, one male and one female, that were unnamed and inconsistent in appearance.  

The University of Missouri tiger mascots prior to Truman's introduction in 1986.  Here the female and male tiger at the Homecoming game in 1974. (Image courtesy of MU Archives, C:1/139/1)

  Joe Castiglione, the athletic director of the University of Missouri in the 1980s, decided to reinvent the university's mascot.  In 1984 the Mizzou cheerleaders organized a contest for naming the new mascot.  The name "Truman," after U.S. President and Missouri native Harry S. Truman, was selected as the overwhelming favorite.  In 1986 the costume for Truman was designed and he made his first appearance at the Missouri-Utah football game that same year. 

The original Truman the Tiger costume from 1986 (Courtesy of Suzy Thompson).

 Nationally renowned Truman the Tiger has been firing up fans and cheering on athletes at the University of Missouri for thirty years.

Truman has always been especially well-loved by children....

Truman the Tiger is always a favorite with young children (Savitar 1995).

...and adults alike.

Truman posing with students at the 1996 Spring Rally (Savitar 1996).

Truman makes appearances at a variety of athletic events.

After every Mizzou score on Faurot Field, Truman the Tiger does push-ups with the members of the ROTC. (Savitar, 2004).

Working the crowd at a baseball game. (Savitar, 1999).
Truman helpfully points out spots on the floor that need attending to by the towel boys at a basketball game. (Savitar, 1992).

Truman makes over 35 appearances a month at not only athletic events, but also hospitals, businesses, and a variety of civic functions. 

Truman puts on black tie to attend the Black and Gold Ball in April 2000 (Mizzou Alumni Magazine, Fall 2000).

Truman the Tiger rides with Donald W. Reynolds, the Homecoming Grand Marshal, at the Homecoming Parade in 1988. (Courtesy MU Archives, C:1/139/1).

Truman the Tiger is an accomplished mascot, having won several awards.  Most recently Truman competed and won the National Mascot Championship in 2014 awarded by the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.  Truman's winning routine focused on the "dos and don'ts" of being a collegiate mascot.  Truman has received the same award also in 1989 and 2004.

Truman's 2014 National Mascot Championship jacket and ring. (Objects courtesy of Suzy Thompson, cheerleading coach).

 We wish Truman a wonderful 30th birthday and many more to come! Come visit the exhibit through the end of September to see more of Truman through the decades.

Blog post authored by Lauren DiSalvo, Curator of Public Arts and PhD Candidate in Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.