Photo by Maria Lorenzino.
Alexi Cardona/Staff Writer
FIU’s mascot turned 27 on Thursday, April 3 and about 150 students and staff members gathered in Panther Square at Biscayne Bay Campus to wish him a happy birthday.
How Roary became FIU’s mascot is a bit of a mystery. Not many people know his history and it was not addressed at the event.
In 1972, students suggested five choices for the university’s mascot: Ambassadors, Diplomats, Globes, Suns and Sunblazers. On April 27, 1973, the Sunblazer was selected for the FIU sports team in a university-wide vote, according to Marisol Sierra, assistant director of membership of the Student Alumni Association.
The Sunblazer wore a bright yellow uniform with a sun-shaped head and a crooked smile.
“That was an ugly mascot. I’m glad they made the change,” said Joanna Guillaume, a junior majoring in health service administration and a member of Panther Power.
Roary was born October 5, 1987. That’s when the Sunblazers became the Golden Panthers. Sierra said the mascot was inspired by the Florida Panther, an endangered species endemic to the Everglades. In 2010, the Golden Panthers became the Panthers.
At the event on Thursday, Roary danced with students, posed for pictures and cut the first slice of his three-tiered cake.
Marlene Dzib, a sophomore majoring in political science, said the party was a great way to honor our mascot.
This year is one of the few times the Biscayne Bay Campus has celebrated Roary’s birthday.
Nicole Cozzi, graduate assistant for Campus Life, hopes the celebration will ground a tradition and ignite school spirit at BBC. She said she would like for there to be a set date or Roary’s birthday and for it to be celebrated every year.
The event was held in conjunction with the Student Alumni Association, Student Government, Panther Power and the Student Programming Council.
The Student Government election results were announced at the start of the event, with Jazmin Felix as the new president and Camille Williams as vice president for 2014-2015. SGA members asked students at the event to sign their petition for a second access road to the campus.