Every school has a mascot. They are great for school spirit. UHD has club teams, not NCAA sports. Even so, we have a mascot and it’s great for school spirit. I don’t know if the mascot will stay the same. UHD is going through a process that will ultimately result in the selection of a new name for the university, which may result in a new mascot.
When I first visited UHD during the interviews, I was surprised to learn that UHD’s mascot is the Gator. Are you kidding? Are there gators in Houston? Well, it turns out there are. But, don’t worry. Gators won’t be crawling up Main Street any time soon.
Of course, there have been real gators in Houston. When Houston was first established it was swamp land and there were gators in the Bayou. Every now and then, one turns up, especially after floods. Back in 2005, a 250-pound gator was spotted in the Bayou and was finally captured by a game warden. This past month, as I began the presidency at UHD, Houston Chronicle had an article about two men who were arrested for killing a 600-pound 13-foot-long alligator in Houston.
It turns out that it’s legal to hunt gators in Harris County, but only from April 1st –June 30th. Also, you're supposed to hunt gators with a bow and arrow. These guys shot it--on a protected preserve. They also picked the wrong gator. The one they killed was the star of Armand Bayou Nature Center ecology tours! Guess those guys didn’t get their education at UHD!
Personally, a 13-foot-long alligator scares the dickens out of me. But UHD didn’t pick the Gator as a mascot to scare anyone. The UHD mascot emphasizes student success and is appropriately nicknamed, “Ed-U-Gator.” The UHD mascot brings pride to the campus and helps build community. Our students love the Gator. They buy stuffed, cuddly gators (like little teddy bears). They have Gator key chains. Things like that.
UHD has teams, softball, volleyball, basketball and other club and intramural sports. UHD also has academic teams, like the Model UN, as well as the two students and faculty who are doing research at Argonne Labs. So, Ed-U-Gator builds a different school spirit-—it promotes student success and excellence.
Like gators, our students are determined. They are tough, relentless, and they are survivors. As one student told me, “I don’t think I would be in college if hadn’t been for UHD. They have classes at nights and on the weekends, plus online and hybrid courses. The staff and faculty work with you. It’s taken me nearly ten years, taking one or two courses a semester, trying to fit them into my work schedule. But, I’ll be graduating next Spring.” That about sums it up! Gators Rule!