Spirited: Cheers to RIT School Spirit

The Evolution of Ritchie RIT’s Costumed Tiger Mascot

RIT’s earliest mascots took animal and animated form: from Brownie, a canine companion during World War I, to “The Techmen" of the early 20th century. However, after an undefeated basketball season in 1055-56, the RIT coaches and teams wanted a mascot that captured college spirit and ferocity of sport. Henry Watts, head of the RIT news Bureau, began sending out news releases using “Tigers” as the nickname. The name stuck. The Following decade, a live tiger named Spirit was adopted as a mascot, as explained elsewhere in this exhibit. Although Spirit would die within a year, he would continue to live on through the zeal of costumed mascots, as documented by the items in this exhibit case. While students have donned a tiger costume over the past half century, the costumed tiger named “Ritchie” is a fairly recent idea. Its origins date to 1989 when third year College of Liberal Arts student Rick Mislan submitted the name in a contest held by the College Activities board. Over the past thirty years, Ritchie’s costume has been refreshed several times. On display here is the costume from 2000-2006, affectionately known as "Grandpa" due to his tired state. 

Cruising Main Street
Grandpa RITchie Costume
Richard H Eisenhart, Chairman of Board of Trustees with ...
RITchie Finds His Stripes
RITchie Finds His Stripes
Spirit the Tiger Mascot with Unidentified Cheerleaders
Tiger Mascot at a Basketball Game