Columbia’s Official Mascot

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a lion, the inspiration behind columbia official mascot

Columbia’s Official Mascot

Columbia University, an Ivy League institution with a rich history and tradition, is renowned for its academic excellence and vibrant community. At the heart of this community lies a symbol that unites students, faculty, and alumni alike: Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee the Lion.

This majestic figure is not merely a character that appears at sporting events; it’s a representation of the university’s spirit, pride, and heritage. The story of Roar-ee is intertwined with the very fabric of Columbia, reflecting its values, aspirations, and the indomitable spirit that has propelled the university to global prominence.

In this article, we will delve into the symbolism, history, and cultural significance of Columbia University’s official mascot, exploring how it has become an integral part of the university’s identity.

What is the Symbolism Behind Columbia’s Official Mascot?

Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee, is more than just a visual emblem; it’s a symbol imbued with meaning and purpose. The lion, a creature known for its strength, courage, and wisdom, perfectly encapsulates the qualities that Columbia University strives to instill in its students.

Roar-ee represents the pursuit of knowledge, the courage to challenge conventional thinking, and the wisdom to use education for the greater good. The choice of a lion as the official mascot is not arbitrary; it resonates with the university’s motto, “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen” (In Your light, we shall see the light), reflecting a commitment to enlightenment, integrity, and leadership.

This symbolism extends beyond the campus, connecting with alumni and supporters worldwide, and reinforcing the sense of belonging and shared values that define the Columbia experience.

What is Columbia’s official mascot?

What is the official mascot of Columbia University? Columbia University’s official mascot was proposed in 1910, giving birth to the name Leo Columbiae. The mascot is now known as Roar-EE.

College spirit and the singing of fight songs have always included the college mascot. Even though they have been around for quite some time, school mascots continue to play an important part in fostering school spirit.

They become excellent representatives for academic institutions like universities and colleges because their work revolves around public recognition and friendly interaction.

Leo the Mascot, Columbia's official mascot

Columbia University students voted in 1910 on what animal should serve as the school mascot. In comes “Matilda, the Harlem Goat.” Patrick Riley, who managed a farm near 120th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, owned Matilda and frequently gave her out to students at Columbia University to play practical jokes.

Columbia’s mascot has been a lion since 1910 when a vote was held. The goat was a close second. George Brokaw Compton (CC’1909), who would go on to become a lawyer, said that while Yale had its “Bull Dog,” Brown had its “Bear,” and Princeton had its “Tiger.” The Marines rode goats, the Army used mules. Compton suggested that Columbia be placed at the absolute pinnacle. “We have the King’s Crown,” he shared. “Let us have the lion.”

Nevertheless, Matilda’s narrative did not conclude with that event. Matilda the Goat passed away in 1914, and students from Columbia University, dressed in their academic regalia, performed a funeral procession for her while singing a unique funeral dirge called “A Harlem Goat.”

Howard Dietz, a studio publicist who graduated from Columbia College in 1917, created the “Leo the Lion” emblem 1917 for the Goldwyn Picture Corporation, which was owned by Samuel Goldwyn.

His inspiration came from the Columbia College Lions varsity sports team. After the merger that brought together Goldwyn Pictures, Metro Pictures Corporation, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the newly formed MGM kept the logo, which is widely considered to be the most recognizable studio emblem in the entire world. If we do say so ourselves, the first lion that served as the team’s mascot was quite menacing.

The Columbia Lion mascot has undergone a number of transformations over the years, the most recent of which occurred in 2005 when Roar-EE made his debut at the homecoming game.

A competition was held to determine his new name, and Roar-EE prevailed over the other names that were suggested, including Hamilton, Hudson, K.C., and J.J. To this day, the mascot is still referred to by its official name, which is Roar-EE.

How can one book Roar-ee?

At least four weeks in advance, each inquiry must be filed through the Roar-ee Booking Inquiry Form. All requests, however, are subject to availability.

Every public presentation that Roar-ee makes requires the presence of an athletics department representative.

The payment has to be received before the event can take place. Payments made within Columbia are to be processed through IDI. Checks or credit cards are to be used for making payments to third parties.

The client is responsible for providing a space that can be used for breaks and storage of items, in addition to water.

Booking Fees

AROUND CAMPUS: $100 per hour for a minimum of two hours, including time to dress and undress as well as transit time to and from the event

OFF CAMPUS: The rate is $200 per hour with a two-hour minimum, and it includes time to dress and undress as well as transport time to and from the event. There will be no appearances outside of the city of Manhattan.

Film and photo shoots cost $200 per hour, which includes time to dress and undress as well as travel time to and from the location of the shoot. The client is responsible for informing Athletics about the video and photo release strategy in advance and for sharing copies of the film and photos following the session.

Female student on her back walking in the campus.

If the appearance is for a film or picture session, the client is obligated to inform Athletics of the distribution strategy for the film or photos in advance, and they must also provide copies of the film or photos after the shoot. At its sole discretion, Athletics may refuse requests.

What Role Does Roar-ee Play in Columbia’s Culture?

Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee the Lion, serves as a unifying symbol that transcends academics and athletics, resonating deeply within the university’s culture. Roar-ee is not merely a figurehead but a living embodiment of Columbia’s values, traditions, and aspirations.

Roar-ee’s Presence in Sports

In the realm of sports, Roar-ee’s role is paramount. As Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee is a fixture at athletic events, embodying the competitive spirit, determination, and teamwork that define Columbia’s athletes.

View of a coach using a whistle during practice.

Roar-ee’s energetic presence on the sidelines, cheering on the teams and engaging with fans, creates an electrifying atmosphere that inspires players and supporters alike. The mascot’s iconic roar, symbolizing the fearless pursuit of excellence, resonates with the ethos of Columbia’s sports programs.

Whether it’s a crucial football game or an intercollegiate tennis match, Roar-ee’s presence as Columbia University’s official mascot amplifies the excitement, fosters unity, and reinforces the sense of community that makes Columbia’s sporting events a unique and memorable experience.

Roar-ee in University Traditions

Roar-ee’s significance extends beyond sports, playing a vital role in Columbia University’s official traditions and ceremonies. From Convocation to Commencement, Roar-ee’s presence adds a touch of warmth, joy, and continuity to these momentous occasions.

As Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee participates in various annual events, connecting generations of students and symbolizing the enduring legacy of the institution. Whether it’s leading the procession during graduation or dancing at the annual Spring Festival, Roar-ee’s involvement adds a layer of richness and tradition that enhances the Columbia experience.

The mascot’s ability to evoke nostalgia, celebrate achievements, and inspire future generations underscores its importance as a cultural icon and a cherished part of Columbia’s heritage.

How Has Roar-ee Influenced Other University Mascots?

Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee the Lion, has not only become a symbol of pride and unity for Columbia but has also exerted a significant influence on other university mascots. Roar-ee’s unique blend of dignity, playfulness, and cultural resonance has set a standard that many institutions have sought to emulate.

Columbia official mascot with other school mascot

Comparison with Other Mascots

When compared to other mascots, Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee, stands out for its distinctive character and symbolic depth. While each institution has a mascot that reflects its unique culture and history, Roar-ee’s embodiment of strength, wisdom, and courage sets it apart.

Unlike some mascots that are chosen for their visual appeal or entertainment value, Roar-ee’s selection was rooted in a thoughtful alignment with Columbia’s core values. This intentional symbolism has contributed to Roar-ee’s enduring popularity and recognition, not just within the Ivy League but across the higher education landscape.

Roar-ee represents a thoughtful approach to mascot design, one that resonates with the institution’s mission and connects with its diverse community.

Roar-ee’s Impact Beyond the Ivy League

Roar-ee’s influence extends beyond the Ivy League, shaping the way mascots are perceived and utilized across various educational institutions. As Columbia University’s official mascot, Roar-ee has demonstrated how a mascot can transcend its role as a mere figurehead to become a meaningful symbol of an institution’s identity and values.

This approach has inspired other universities to rethink their mascots, leading to a broader trend toward mascots that are not only visually engaging but also culturally relevant and emotionally resonant. Roar-ee’s impact is seen in the growing emphasis on mascots that foster a sense of community, celebrate diversity, and enhance the student experience.

The legacy of Roar-ee serves as a testament to the power of thoughtful design and intentional symbolism in creating mascots that resonate with people and contribute positively to the university culture.

What are the colors of Columbia University?

Light blue and white are the official colors of Columbia University. These colors were taken from the campus Philolexian and Peithologian Societies, with the former claiming the blue and the latter claiming the white. The two colors were combined and used for the first time in 1852.

Around the turn of the century, a specific tint of light blue that became widely known as Columbia Blue is still commonly used today as a tint of blue. We see this in the garb of Roar-ee, Columbia University’s official mascot.

There are a number of other educational institutions that also use “Columbia Blue” as one of their school colors.

What is Columbia’s fight song?

The fight song for Columbia University is called “Roar, Lion Roar!” and over the years, it has become increasingly closely associated with the University. The encouraging alumni of Columbia University contributed significantly to the creation of this song.

Corey Ford, Class of 1923 CC, repurposed a song from that year’s Varsity Show (which he co-wrote) and “concocted new words for the final chorus of the show and sent the entry in when the Columbia University Alumni Federation offered a prize for a new football song in 1923.

Therefore, “Roar, Lion Roar!” replaced “Bold, Buccaneers!” in its place.

Songbooks give credit for the melody to Roy Webb, 1910 CC, and Morris Watkins 1924 CC, in addition to giving Ford credit for writing the lyrics of the song. The first verse of the song is typically omitted when it is played today.

The current stanza of Columbia’s fight song, “Roar, Lion, Roar,” which is less well-known than the rest of the song, goes as follows:

“When the bold teams of old wore the Blue and White,

Deeds of fame made their name,

Here at old Columbia!

Now-a-days we can praise fighting teams again!

Hear the Lion roar his pride while the men of Morningside

Follow the Blue and White to vict’ry.

Roar, Lion, Roar!

And wake the echoes of the Hudson Valley!

Fight on to vict’ry evermore,

While the sons of Knickerbocker rally ‘round



Shouting her name forever

Roar, Lion, Roar!

For Alma Mater on the Hudson Shore!”

This is the only battle song that most students at Columbia are familiar with singing along to. Even though “Roar, Lion, Roar” was written 101 years ago, its verses continue to include some insightful truths that are still relevant today. The lyrics of the song implied something that the band most likely did not intend to communicate at all: Columbia is fixated on its heritage, as well as owning, ranking, and enduring for all time.

The individuals who sing this fight song don’t only desire a prosperous organization that they can rejoice in right now; rather, they want one that will endure for all of time.

Does Columbia have a cheerleading group?

Does Columbia University have a cheerleading group, like most Ivy League schools? Yes, it is aptly named the Columbia University Cheerleaders.

Young woman walking in the stairs of a building.

Together with Columbia University’s official mascot, the Columbia University cheerleaders have been an integral part of the school’s spirit and have played an important role in the upkeep of Columbia’s illustrious history at many campus events, including football and basketball games.

Throughout the course of the year, the cheerleaders also take part in other community service activities. The Columbia University cheerleaders have been an integral part of the school’s spirit for some decades now.

They contribute to the upholding of Columbia’s illustrious traditions at campus events, sporting events, including football and basketball games, and volunteer activities in the local community.

You can meet Roar-ee with our help

If getting into Columbia is one of your goals, you should seek the advice of professionals who work in the subject of college admissions, such as the people at AdmissionSight, who can help you improve your chances of being accepted.

With more than a decade of experience supporting students just like you in achieving admission to the universities of their first and second choices, AdmissionSight has become the most trusted name in the industry of college admissions advising.

If you can get in touch with us soon, that would be awesome. We will surely set up a consultation free of charge.


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