Athletics and school spirit have always been important aspects of the UWM experience, and a mascot epitomizes both. This guide explores the history of UWM's mascots and those of its predecessor institutions, Wisconsin State Normal School, Milwaukee State Teacher's College, and Wisconsin State College-Milwaukee.
1896: Wisconsin State Normal School fields its first intercollegiate sports teams in basketball, golf, tennis, baseball, and a few other sports. The school nickname at the time is the "Normals," and no mascot is created.
1927: With the name change to Milwaukee State Teacher's College comes a new mascot name, that of the Green Gulls, to represent the new MSTC football team. The institution retains the Gulls mascot and colors through its next name change to Wisconsin State College Milwaukee.
|1956: Wisconsin State College merges with the University of Wisconsin Extension to become the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Following a vote by the student body, UWM keeps Madison's red and white school colors but opts for a new mascot, the Cardinal.|
|1965: Following a University Student Government referendum to change the school's colors and mascot, the winner of a contest sponsored by the UWM Post is the now-familiar black and gold UWM Panther.|
|1972: The UWM Athletics Department adopts "Trouble," a North American Golden Panther, to serve as the living mascot of the UWM Panthers at that season's basketball games. Around this same time, the human version of the mascot is named "Victor E. Panther."|
|1981: The UWM Post publishes "Victor E. Panther 'takes to the woods,'" a story about the declining popularity of the panther mascot on campus.|
|1990: UWM Athletics enter NCAA Division I, leading to a resurgence in popularity of athletics in general and the panther in particular.|
|2007: Victor E. "graduates" from UWM and is replaced by Pounce the Panther at the October Panther Madness.|
This guide was created in October 2009 using records and articles from the collections of the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, and associated publications. Allen Ramsey assisted with photograph selection and scanning, and wrote some copy for the guide. Brad Houston edited and wrote the remaining copy.
Photographs and documents from archival collections are copyright © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System with all rights reserved. Images of photographs and articles from the UWM Post are copyright © UWM Post, Inc. with all rights reserved and used with permission.