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The Humpback Whale: A UAS Tradition
While many schools choose mascot animals based on their fierceness or physical strength, other mascots convey decidedly different qualities. Here in Southeast Alaska, in addition to being a symbol of wildlife and conservation, the Humpback Whale is the epitome of grace, intelligence, and natural beauty.
The University of Alaska Juneau (UAJ) first adopted the Humpback Whale as its mascot in 1980. The whale was retained after the restructuring into the University of Southeast (UAS) in 1987 to include the Ketchikan and Sitka campuses. A student contest was held to name the mascot and the whale has been known as "Spike" ever since.
By 2005 the original Spike was showing serious signs of wear. The Spike used today was born September 10, 2005. Spike now has a Humpback Whale appearance and includes XtraTuf footwear so as so better navigate the S.E. Alaska terrain.
Mascots: An American Tradition
Mascots are symbols of pride, loyalty and inspiration dating back to the American Civil War where many regiments had living mascots, the more famous of which were Sallie, the bull terrier of the 11th Pennsylvania, and Old Abe, the Bald Eagle of the 8th Wisconsin. After the war, the mascot tradition spread to colleges and universities when intercollegiate athletic games and rivalries emerged. Today, mascots are a recognizable face or personality for a school that add to school history, tradition and pride.