Ralphie shirt 1996Originating from the French mascotte, meaning lucky charm, the popularity of mascots goes back to the late nineteenth century. Most often associated with sports, mascots bring excitement, pride and a fighting spirit for the home team and intimidation to the rivals.

In 1888 silver and gold became the university’s official colors, but no formal mascot was selected, so CU athletic teams were often called the Silver and Gold. Filled with school spirit, CU students adopted live, unofficial mascots – a dog, goat and donkey – over the decades. Some mascots inspired silly antics, while others encouraged raucous cheering sections.  

Nearly 60 years after the university opened, one of the most memorable college mascots in the country appeared at CU – the buffalo.

2016 marks 50 years of Ralphie the buffalo as CU’s beloved mascot. Discover CU’s early mascots and learn about Ralphie’s extraordinary appearances through the years.