Amherst goes with Mammoths


WolfmanSF image, licensed by Creative Commons

Amherst announced in January 2016 it was dumping its long-held, if ostensibly unofficial, Lord Jeff mascot, and this week, the school picked an even more extinct mascot.

Going forward, the Amherst athletics teams will be known as the Mammoths.

The name was chosen from among five finalists in a vote by Amherst's alumni, students, faculty and staff. According to a school news release, 9,295 people participated. 

Known officially as only the "Purple and White" for the past year-plus, the Amherst teams could have been known by that moniker going forward, as that was one of the finalists. Along with Mammoths, the voters considered Fighting Poets, Valley Hawks and Wolves. 

As for mammoth, the word itself, “describes something stupendous and monumental, something vast and mighty, something imposing and formidable,” one person who nominated the mascot noted. But Ice Age mammoths were also highly social, herbivorous animals, a school news release points out. The Beneski Museum of Natural History on campus famously displays the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, unearthed by Professor Frederick Brewster Loomis and brought to the college in 1925.

In their note at the end of the process, the school's mascot committee thanked the community for “the rich and plentiful contribution of mascot ideas, and for the enthusiastic voter participation.”

“Affection for Amherst and belief in what our college represents motivated our committee during this entire process,” they wrote, “and we welcome the mammoths as the new mascot for Amherst College.”

Meanwhile, we look forward to the battles going forward between the Mammoths and Jumbos, mascots of Amherst's NESCAC rival, Tufts.